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"Dear Samuel Johnson, I want to thank you. I want to thank you for so much."

Today, Samuel Johnson announced that he was retiring from acting to dedicate himself to being a full-time advocate for cancer research. 

A few weeks ago, actor, comedian and Mamamia writer Lucy Gransbury has met Samuel Johnson and wrote a thank you note for the way that he has inspired her – and for the work he has done for cancer patients everywhere…

Dear Samuel Johnson.

I read this morning that you said that you are flat broke. Despite the fact you play Mr Meldrum in the series, Molly, you haven’t got two cents to rub together (though, this may be because we don’t have one cent coins in Australia. But you get me).

For a lot of reasons, this makes me sad. Because you are a great actor, and a well-known one, and still struggling to make ends meet (can financial ends even meet? Who writes these stupid penniless expressions?). Because you have done great things for women in Australia with you breast cancer research. Because you love your sister so damn much, and it makes me bloody teary every time I think about it.

Love Your Sister (Image: Facebook/Love Your Sister)

But instead of feeling sad, I want to thank you.

Almost a decade ago, I took part in an acting class that you lead. I was a 19-year-old bright-eyed actor. You were Evan from Secret Life Of Us (bet you’re sick of hearing that!). And you were spectacular. Your energy bounced of the walls. You gave even the shittiest of actors insightful, respectful feedback. At one point, you singled me out to work with me, and it was a moment so special to me that I wrote it down on a piece of paper and tucked it into a special box in which I keep my most treasured memories. That memory remains there, next to my first ballet shoe.

I wrote you a card to thank you for the great workshop (look, I know I seemed like a suck-up, but every bloody actor’s manual will teach you that ‘correspondence is important’ and shit like that, so I had to, okay?) and you kindly wrote back, with words so sweet that I still remember them verbatim.

SamuelJohnsonTheSecretLifeOfUs Network10
“You were Evan from Secret Life Of Us (bet you’re sick of hearing that!). And you were spectacular.” (Image: Screenshot via Network 10)
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But that’s not the only reason I want to thank you.

I read the book you co-wrote with Connie, and both of you blew my mind. Such incredible writing. Such a beautiful relationship. And then you rode a casual 15,955 kilometres around Australia on a UNICYCLE to raise $1.5 million for cancer research. I could vividly imagine what you so perfectly described; you perched on a unicycle, riding through the endless desert at night because it was cooler, keeping to one side of the road for trucks to pass you, leaning hard to your right to compensate for the road sloping down to the left. Tired legs and a clear head.

But that’s not it either.

You talked about your bi-polar bear friend, ‘Henry’ – the best analogy for a mental health issue ever – with courage and class. He was there with you throughout a life of more ups and downs than the Eureka tower elevators, and the way you discussed him was meaningful and appreciated by all Aussies with mental health issues. Actually, just all Aussies. Period.

But it’s not just that.

It’s what you’ve done for my future. It’s all of it.

On Australia Day, you were awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM) for the incredible support you have given, financially and publicly, to cancer research organisations, not to mention your service to the performing arts industry in Australia.

And still, you’re broke. So instead of giving you any money (hey, I’m an actor too. In fact, can I borrow a dollar?) I’m going to give you my eternal gratitude.

Samuel Johnson, thank you for being an outstanding example to all Australians.

Thank you for humorously telling women to feel themselves up, to save them from dying of breast cancer (and your excellent sister Connie, for every incredible thing she has done for cancer research as well. Legendary).

Thank you for raising more than $2 million (and counting) for me, and my mum, and my sister, and my aunties, and my friends, and anyone who has the potential (women and men) to suffer from breast cancer.

Thank you for speaking honestly about mental health.

Thank you for inspiring me as an actor, and being honest about the acting industry in Australia (where you can be equal parts respected and broke).

Thank you for having the greatest Facebook charity page of all of them – funny, warm and beautiful.

(Image: Facebook/ Love Your Sister)

Thank you for riding a motherf**king unicycle.

Thank you for loving your sister.

You are one top human, Samuel J. Thank you for that. Fingers crossed you find a fat cashed-up wallet in the street. You bloody deserve it.

All my gratitude,

Lucy G.

You can check out Samuel Johnson’s incredible work with his charity Love Your Sister HERE.

Alternatively follow them on Facebook or Twitter.

ps: Lucy Gransbury has a show comedy coming up at the Adelaide Fringe Festival called “Funny Face”. You can buy your tickets here