Reference > Erinsborough News > Men Problems For Myra
Neighbours actress Myra De Groot is looking for a good man to grow old with…
Myra De Groot has a problem – men. In fact the problem has become so great she is thinking of giving them up. “My choice in men has never been wise,” she said. “I’ve been married three times. Don’t ask me why my relationships don’t last. I really don’t know. Maybe it’s just that I get bored.”
She has dated men her own age, older men and some who were younger. “I had a relationship with a guy who was 18 years younger than me. It was the last serious relationship I had and I swore it would be the last I would ever have,” she said. “He was really the only person I have found who gave as good as he got. But eventually I got bored with him too. It was because I was so much older than him, I suppose.”
There was a touch of reluctance in the way the soapie star of Neighbours discussed the situation, as if she hasn’t completely given up hope of finding the right man. “Perhaps I might entertain the thought of another relationship,” she admitted. “I do worry about being alone. I don’t care who they are, no-one relishes the idea of growing old by themselves. No matter how independent anyone thinks they are, it is still nice to have someone to come home to and cuddle up with. But I don’t have anyone, so I go home and cuddle my dog. At least he eats less than a man and he does put up with me.”
“Who would put up with the schedule I have to keep? And where would I meet someone in the first place? I don’t like singles clubs or those sorts of things.” Her age, she realises, is not an asset. “It’s all very well to say look at Joan Collins – I mean, I knew her when she was 15. My father was her agent, but she has always been in a different position. Not everyone has her attraction.”
Myra’s preference for young men also presents problems. “I do prefer to be with younger men, not just because they are younger, but because they have energy. I think one of the worst things about life is the terrible maudlin, morose lack of energy that comes with aging,” she said. The problem has yet to affect her, however. “People say to me: ‘You have so much energy, what were you like when you were younger?’ I say: ‘Excuse me! When I was younger, I was busy finding out what I liked and didn’t. Now I’m older, I simply know what I like and have the energy to devote to it.’”
The last remark was delivered with the cracking laugh that is as much a part of her personality as her boundless energy. If Myra was still a child, it would be easy to describe her as mischievous and diagnose her as hyperactive. And needless to say her creative activities are not confined to Neighbours.
“I help run an actors’ agency, which is interesting. I also do a lot of script writing. You see, I want to retire when I’m 55 and I only have four years to go. There are a lot of places I want to go back to before I kick the bucket.” In her Channel Ten publicity sheet, Myra lists “staying alive, cooking and tapestry” as her interests when acting, writing and work at the agency abate. And, loath as she is to admit it, she has also become a joystick junkie.
“I have fallen prey to computer games, which is something I swore I would never do,” she said. “But much to my chagrin, I have – and I am thoroughly enjoying myself. I find it very relaxing.” Myra has now installed a second computer to handle the less frivolous aspects of her life. Asked how she managed to cram all this into a day, she explained she needed little sleep. “Sleep cuts into doing things. I go for five or six days on very little sleep and then I crash out for a day. Most of the time I get by on three or four hours sleep a night. That’s tops. Do you think it shows? Actually if I make enough money this year, I am going to have a facelift. I want to grow old gracefully.”
Myra’s agency is called Testrow Management, and she runs it with Stacey Testrow who once owned an innovative theatre restaurant in the Melbourne suburb of Brunswick. Artists on Testrow Management’s books include Totty Goldsmith, actress and model and a member of the rock band The Chantoozies; actress Rowena Mohr, who recently joined Myra in the cast of Neighbours and Lindy McConchie, perhaps best known for her role in the recent TV condom advertisement.
“I’m a tough agent,” Myra said. “I’m very hard to deal with because I know all the angles.” There is no conflict in her roles as actress and actors’ agent. “I steer as far away from acting as I can these days. That’s apart from Neighbours, of course. To be quite honest, I don’t seem to get the same buzz out of acting any more. The number one reason is I don’t get the scripts. Don’t forget I’m pretty much a Johnny-come-lately to acting in Australia. I have only been here since 1980 so I’m not of the old school. There are a lot more established actor my age and older, and they are the ones the producers approach first.”
Myra was born in England, and she started acting at 10. Since then she has lived and worked in America and New Zealand. Her role as Eileen Clarke in Neighbours is not only one that suits her personality, but also her lifestyle. “It is a wonderful situation to be in,” she said. “When they wrote the character they didn’t want her to be a permanent part of the cast, which suited me. I am contracted until March, which makes my bank manager very happy. After that, I hope to go to England for a visit. I haven’t been back since 1957. Hopefully I will be able to cash in on the publicity that the show has received over there.”
And she might just be able to find that elusive male companion. “I want someone to look after me, but, as I say, it isn’t easy. Everyone assumes that because you are in a television series or in the public eye, you must have a man around. Actually, what I need is an 80-year-old man with a terminal heart disease and a brewery. No, not an 80-year-old. He would be too boring. But someone who is going to get some fun out of life and will keep me in a style to which I have not had the chance to become accustomed. Now that would be nice.”
This article originally appeared in Woman's Day magazine dated 2nd November 1987 and was written by Pat Bowring