It was Ray Meagher’s second wake-up call he never saw coming. But, again, it was one of the TV icons playing Alf in Home and Away who couldn’t be more grateful to him for acting.
Ray understandably believed he had dodged a big bullet after undergoing life-saving triple-bypass surgery last year and being given a clean health bill.
But some seven months later, Ray unexpectedly encountered symptoms that raised warning bells again, despite “doing all the right things and walking and powering up hills”
“I was going up a really steep hill on one of those runs when I felt a little bit of breathlessness and just a twinge,” says the 76-year-old.
Home and Away star Ray Meagher (pictured) reveals he’s “never been fitter” since his health scare last year.
The star, who has been at the heart of the series for more than three decades, returned to the operating theatre after meeting his physicians. “Nevertheless, Ray had a life-saving stent implanted this time to” patch another blockage.
Now back in top shape as he enjoys both his time with his mom, Gilly, at home and on set with his castmates, Ray genuinely believes a third lease on life has been given to him.
“All of this is now over, and I’m sure everybody played their part,” he says. I was never fitter, and I worked on Home and Away for long days. In the nine weeks, we were shut down during COVID, we were trying to catch up with what we lost.
Alf married his long-time love, Martha (Belinda Giblin), earlier this year. Ailsa (Judy Nunn), his first wife, has passed away.
More than ever, when any problems occur, Ray is a true believer in listening to the body and seeking medical advice. Heart disease is a big killer, “he says,” in Australia. To go to see the doctor, I recommend everyone to get a check-up. The core is the engine under the bonnet, and you’ve got nothing if you haven’t got that going.
“So, you can’t just dismiss it if your body tells you it’s a little crooked.”
Visit heartfoundation.org.au or call 13 11 12 for more information.
Alf was previously married to Ailsa (played by Judy Nunn, pictured) before her tragic death.
Ray tells: ‘Gilly’s the best cook’
Behind the scenes, his beloved wife, Gilly, a retired nurse, stands silently by Ray’s side.
“She’s just awesome,” he says, revealing that Gilly has always been an enormous help to him.
Indeed, only shortly after his first heart operation, as Ray also told New Concept, “I really don’t know what I would have done without Gilly.” A nurse once, a nurse still.
Also true, he now says with a smile, is that Gilly is a wonderful cook!
“I think that it’s fair to say that I’ve got a pretty balanced diet, and that’s all thanks to Gilly, too,” he says. “There are probably three or four things I can cook, but I never get near the place. Gilly enjoys cooking and I enjoy eating, so we’re a natural-born team! I’m a lucky man indeed!”