Top 15 Aussies on US Television

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For decades now there has been a steady stream of talented Australian actors and actresses heading to the US to "develop their careers".

Some make it and some break it, but either way there is currently a strong crop of Aussie stars making a big impact on US television and doing their home country proud!

But who has made the biggest impact on the small screen? Who deserves the biggest accolades? Check out TV.com's top 15 list below of Australian stars who have made the move across the pond!

15. Poppy Montgomery

Following a post-school jaunt to the US, Poppy decided to stick it out for the long haul and try to establish herself in Hollywood.

Her first significant impact in acting circles came in the 2001 hit CBS mini-series, Blonde, in which she portrayed Marilyn Monroe and was highly acclaimed by television critics.

Montgomery moved into the wider consciousness when she nabbed the role of Samantha Spade on the hugely successful detective drama series Without A Trace.

14. Dame Edna Everage

The grand ol' dame has been in the public consciousness for nearly four decades now, and has made her stamp on the comedy, musical and acting circles.

Aside from her extensive stand-up comedy shows that have been a mainstay of British and US talk shows, she has also wooed audiences with her frequent appearances on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The View.

A major coup for the fashionable star was securing a short-term role in a story arc on lawyer dramedy Ally McBeal, playing a victimised secretary. Several years later she also featured in a big budget adaptation of Nicholas Nickleby.

Certainly one of the most universally loved Australian actresses (oh, okay Barry Humphries deserves some appreciation we guess!), she definitely needs to be on our television screens more frequently.

Is that the whiff of a CSIcameo in the air?

Watch her shine below on the British talk show, Parkinson.

13. Emilie de Ravin

Emilie made a quick dash from her home city of Melbourne to Los Angeles at the tender age of 18.

While this move often leads most aspiring actors to years of bar work and struggling to pay rent, within a month Emilie had secured work in the teen sci-fi show Roswell.

The sci-fi theme continued for the young actress, who became one of the major stars of the massive hit, Lost, in which she played Claire, the vulnerable, quiet Aussie who was quickly the object of affection for many of the male characters.

Where the young actress takes her career next remains to be seen.

12. Rose Byrne

After getting her big Aussie break in TV shows Heartbreak High and Echo Point, Rose Byrne made a swift move into film-making starring in Two Hands with Academy award-winning actor Heath Ledger.

In the US, Rose made her name more recently starring as Ellen Parsons in the television series Damages, and has also acted with legendary British screen icon Peter O’Toole in the drama Casanova.

11. Portia de Rossi

Born as Amanda Lee Rogers, Portia entered the public consciousness in a massive way in the late '90s as a feisty, bitchy, blond bombshell lawyer in the dramedy Ally McBeal.

In later years, she has become widely known as Mrs Ellen DeGeneres and for her comedy turns in Arrested Development and Better Off Ted.

Portia has also become a campaigner for greater awareness around eating disorders in the young acting and modelling community, and has talked at length about her own struggles with the illness.

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10. Alan Dale

Although a Kiwi by birth, we like to claim Alan as one of our own, considering his substantial influence and impact on Australian television! At the age of 27, he left native New Zealand to star in one of the earliest Australian shows to gain great success in the UK, The Young Doctors.

Most people will know Alan as Jim Robinson in Neighbours, whose tragic death was actually prompted by disagreements over pay rates for the cast members at a time when Neighbours' success was at a peak.

Huge popularity awaited, however, as he made the move to the States in 2000 to star as Caleb Nicol in The O.C and as Bradford Meade in Ugly Betty.

Appearances in 24, Lost, The West Wing and NCIS, all mean he is one of the most recognisable faces on US television today.

9. Simon Baker

Tasmanian boy, Simon was a staple on Home and Away and Heartbreak High (there’s definitely a theme here!). He has come back out of the woodwork seemingly out of nowhere to nab leading roles in the Meryl Streep movie The Devil Wears Prada and CBS show The Mentalist, for which he was nominated for Best Actor at this year's Golden Globe Awards.

Simon has finally made the move a permanent one after securing a US citizenship, leaving his Australian homeland far behind. Sad face.

8. Guy Pearce

Pearce is a familiar face the world round, for his star turns in Memento, LA Confidential and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert.

But the English-born actor trod the boards on quintessentially Aussie soap Neighbours, as the hugely popular Mike Young.

In traditional style, the actor also touched base on the set of Home and Away

Watch below to see Pearce sum up the storyline of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert in 16 succinct seconds.

7. Melissa George

After a relatively sedate beginning as Angel Parrish on Home and Away (yes, again!), few people saw the hugely successful leap that Melissa would make to LA, securing film roles on Dark City, Down with Love and the cult classic Mulholland Drive, with fellow Aussie Naomi Watts.

After her film success, she moved back into the television format, with fleeting roles in John Stamos' Thieves and the witchcraft drama Charmed.

In 2003 she appeared in Alias and had a guest role in Friends -- whereas more recently, she has become a familiar face to fans of Lie to Me.

Living in New York and happily married to her Chilean director hubby, there seems little chance of a move back to Oz any time soon....

6. Ryan Kwanten

A favourite of the ladies (and gents), Ryan Kwanten began acting on Australian television shows A Country Practice and Spellbinder.

After he played Vinnie Patterson for a long spell from 1997 to 2002 on the Australian soap opera Home and Away, it may have been unlikely for him to be able to move on to new projects.

However, after his stint ended, he joined the American teen-oriented drama Summerland portraying Jay Robertson. In 2008, he crossed the threshold into the big time as he got cast as Jason Stackhouse in True Blood.

His role as the sex-obsessed brother of Sookie (Anna Paquin) has seen him in various states of sweaty undress, and has certainly been a big draw for the audience who keep demanding more!

What better way to kick start the top five than with this clip from Muriel's Wedding, showcasing the talents of two of our Australian faves!

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5. Toni Collette

Toni Collette is known worldwide for her starring roles in Little Miss Sunshine, In Her Shoes and her Oscar-nominated role in The Sixth Sense.

Toni has worked hard to achieve the reputation that she enjoys today -- from her debut in a guest spot on A Country Practice and then gaining 16 pounds for her role in Muriel's Wedding, which turned into a cult Australiana hit that sent her, and her co-star (number two on this list!), rocketing into the public consciousness.

She returned to the small screen in the 2006 HBO/BBC production Tsunami: The Aftermath. Her performance of an aid worker earned Toni her first Primetime Emmy nomination and third Golden Globe Award nomination.

Toni has returned to a more permanent role in the critically acclaimed drama, United States of Tara, in which she co-stars with Sex and the City's John Corbett.

This brought her to a much wider audience, and even further accolades, in the form of a Primetime Emmy Award and a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in 2010.

4. Anthony LaPaglia

Born in Adelaide, South Australia, in the late '50s, Anthony made a swift move to the States, following completion of a year drama course in his home city.

Anthony is best known for his role as FBI agent Jack Malone on American TV series Without a Trace, and for his long-running guest role of Simon Moon on Frasier.

Frasier won Anthony an Emmy Award for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series, while Without a Trace has allowed him to branch into screen writing, after co-writing episodes for the successful crime show.

3. Julian McMahon

Another Sydney kid, Julian is the second child of the ex-Prime Minister of Australia, Sir William McMahon.

Following a short-lived marriage to Australia's Got Talent judge Dannii Minogue, an award-winning stint on Home and Away and co-starred in The Power, the Passion, Julian hit the big time in Hollywood.

Julian secured a leading role as a baddie in WB series Charmed, and subsequently as plastic surgeon Christian Troy on the multi-award winning drama Nip/Tuck, which saw him established as the hottest property in TV circles

He has since made the move into the big screen, starring in two Fantastic Four movies and several upcoming blockbusters.

2. Rachel Griffiths

Rachel has become a staple for drama shows needing an angsty, yet hauntingly beautiful lead. Best known for her troubled performance of Brenda Chenowith in the ground-breaking HBO TV series Six Feet Under, and more recently as Sally Field's on-screen daughter Sarah Walker on the ABC prime-time drama Brothers & Sisters, opposite Rob Lowe and Calista Flockhart.

After the success of Muriel's Wedding, in which she was largely a complete unknown, Rachel surfed the wave in a similar manner to her co-star, opting to focus largely on television work, rather than following Toni Collette's foray into film.

Her role in Six Feet Under won her two Golden Globes, plus two Emmy nominations.

1. Skippy

"What's up Skippy?" "Tu Tu Tu Tu Tu Tu TU TU TU!" "What, the Collins kid is stuck down the well?

Skippy is one of the most iconic productions of the Australian small screen, to the extent that it has come to encapsulate for some all elements of Australian culture for people around the world.

The Nine Network, which originally produced the show, had the foresight to produce the program in a colour format, to broaden the screening potential and marketability for the US and Canadian audience.

The series received a Spanish overhaul for the Mexican, Cuban and Spanish markets. But it's popularity did not stop there, as it pushed aside the Iron Curtain to make an impact throughout the Soviet Union and making a substantial splash in pre-revolution Iran, among 128 other countries of broadcast.

Contrary to popular belief, there was one kangaroo called Skippy, but she had several stunt stand ins when she needed some R&R.; Called Jo-Jo, Stumpy and Wildy, they took the strain when the original 'roo diva-ed out.

It is seemingly impossible to see when the original kangaroo bit the dust, so who knows. Maybe she's still out there saving people from old mines and flooded creeks. It's a nice thought....

Is there anyone missing from the list that is due some acknowledgement? Let us know below!

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