Daniel MacPherson Quick Facts
|DOB||25 April 1980|
|Height||5″9½ / 1.77 m|
Who is Daniel MacPherson?
Daniel MacPherson was born on April 25, 1980, in Sydney, Australia, turning his hand to acting as a young 17-year-old. His on-screen presence, combined with his natural ability to connect with audiences, has solidified his position as a respected and admired figure in the Australian entertainment landscape.
With a wide range of roles under his belt, from soap operas to police dramas and fantasy series, Daniel MacPherson’s latest role is in Apple’s hit original show Foundation, an intergalactic sci-fi series that follows a band of exiles scattered throughout the galaxy, with Season 2 hitting Apple TV this July.
Daniel MacPherson’s Early Career
Growing up in Cronulla, Dan loved the beach, remembering his upbringing fondly as revolving around the surf: “It was a lot of surf, a lot of sun, and a lot of laughs. There were a lot of freedoms in the 80s and early 90s in beachside Sydney,” he says. Anyone who’s seen him in his most recent roles on screen as a special forces soldier among other strong characters would struggle to believe he wasn’t an athletic kid. But MacPherson wasn’t.
“Genetics didn’t lend me that direction early on,” he recalls. It was only when Dan reached 10 or 12, that he started to understand what his body was capable of, shifting his perspective on himself and his trajectory into adolescence. Before long Dan was competing in triathlons, running, riding and swimming on different tracks up and down the country: “and that changed my entire teenage years and my entire upbringing.”
MacPherson says his plan was to stay in athletics, although he found it to be an “uncomfortable, painful kind of sport,” and that acting was never something he even considered as a career. When one day out of the blue, he was hit with something that made everything stop.
I had no inclination of trying to be an actor. I had no idea what artistry was.Dan MacPherson
Aged 16, Dan contracted glandular fever and chickenpox ultimately putting an end to any fledgling athletics career he had envisioned. “Every time I’d move, I’d get sick. All I wanted to do was go off and race triathlons, train with my mates, ride my bike and go ocean swimming. And for six months I couldn’t.”
It inevitably had a profound effect on MacPherson, removing him from the only lifestyle he knew. He would later get a job working as an official at a triathlon in Kurnell; it was here he met an acting manager who would later introduce him to Mark Morrisey, famed Australian super agent who represents some of the biggest names in the business: Chris and Liam Hemsworth for starters…
He encouraged MacPherson to consider acting and the two exchanged numbers which led to an audition a couple weeks later. From this, he got his first gig the night before he sat his HSC. It wasn’t anything special… Just a gig on Neighbours, Australia’s longest-running soap opera… No big deal.
“My dad bought me a second-hand Mitsubishi, we packed it up with everything I owned and we drove it to Melbourne. I started on Neighbours two days later,” he said.
“That was it, that was how it started. I was going to be a bike mechanic at the local bike shop. Instead, in the course of four months, my life completely flipped upside down.”
Not many people have what it takes to stop when they’re on a roll in their career and give everything up for a chance at the big time in another country. Dan MacPherson does. In his 30s, MacPherson again would pack up everything and start again, with no real indication whether things would turn out well.
When did Daniel MacPherson move to America?
The easy option for Dan would be to stay in Australia and reap the benefits of an illustrious acting career at home; head seven successful seasons as host of one of Australia’s biggest shows Dancing with the Stars, and had been offered a five-year extension to stay on. While your Average Joe would have snatched it from the hand that held it, MacPherson’s unrelenting desire to reinvent himself and ascend to be a better actor would force him to move stateside
“The biggest challenge that I had to overcome was backing myself to step away from the Australian industry,” he says. “I gave up hosting the biggest live TV show in Australia [Dancing With The Stars] to literally start at the very bottom of the pile in my early 30s in America.”
MacPherson knew he was tempting fate. “One thing that nobody tells you when you move to America and pursue an acting career is that when you walk into every audition, there’s going to be 50 guys who look exactly like you sitting in the waiting room… There’s a shorter version, a taller version, there’s this and that. Before that, I had thought I was kind of special,” he says with a smile.
Everyone thought he was mad, and at times, he wondered too. “Age 30, married at the time, providing for family… Am I delusional?” he asked himself. “I pulled myself apart, I went and found the best acting coaches. I worked with the best people I could to completely reinvent myself as an actor.”
It didn’t pay off at first. “For three years I didn’t get a job. But after three or four years of digging deep, you start making headway.”
MacPherson said it was one of the hardest, most transitional phases of his life. “I can tell you now that I have never been as satisfied with my work, with my career and ultimately with my life as I have in the past five years.”
Daniel MacPherson reveals the truth about success
While it was undoubtedly one of the hardest times in his life, it taught him many lessons.
“One of the best pieces of advice I received and it still serves me to this day is that hard work never goes unrewarded,” he said.
“You can work hard at a goal thinking that hard work has gone to waste but you will realise it hasn’t, maybe a way you hadn’t imagined. No matter what, if you put in the work toward a certain goal, that hard work won’t be wasted – it’ll never go unrewarded.”