Julian McMahon: How Australian Royalty Became A TV Star

By Rick Gonzales | 8 months ago

Julian McMahon

Julian McMahon is no stranger to television or feature films. The 52-year old actor has been around the block a time or two, most notably gaining fame with his work on the fabulous TV series Nip/Tuck. But Nip/Tuck isn’t all he is known for.


Julian McMahon

Julian McMahon was born in Australia and is the son of the former 20th Prime Minister of Australia, Sir William McMahon. Having grown up in Australia, it stands to reason Julian McMahon would get his start in film and television in Australia. Before that though, McMahon was a model. Losing interest early on with his studies in Law and Economics, he jumped over to a modeling career that saw him travel and model in the main fashion capitals such as London, New York City, Milan, Paris, and Rome.

It was also during this time that Julian McMahon began to venture over to the film side of the business, appearing in commercials. He turned his commercial experience into his first television appearance on the Australian daytime soap opera The Power, The Passion. It was a brief stint but one that propelled him into his next series venture, this one titled Home and Away, another Australian soap opera. This role was significant for Julian McMahon on a personal level as one of his co-stars was singer, actress Dannii Minogue, sister of pop singer Kylie Minogue, who would eventually be his first wife.



McMahon’s first leap onto the American TV screen came in 1993 when he joined the cast of the popular (at the time) soap opera Another World. After a brief interlude (of almost three years), Julian McMahon found himself back in front of the camera as Detective John Grant in the successful TV series Profiler. The series, which also starred one of The Goonies‘ Fratelli brothers Robert Davi, brought McMahon some well-deserved attention as it lasted four seasons.

Julian McMahon
Julian McMahon on Profile

As McMahon’s star was on the rise, Profiler was ending. Fear not, though, because Julian McMahon already had his next project lined up. This would be on the witchy affair, Charmed. His first appearance as Cole Turner on the hit show came during the series’ third season and would last McMahon four in total, with a return appearance in the show’s seventh season, its 150th episode. One reason for his early departure could be that his next big project was the one that truly made a name for himself.


Nip Tuck

Nip/Tuck was the big one. The series was created by Ryan Murphy, who would go on to create such massive hits The New Normal, Glee, American Horror Story, Scream Queens, and Pose. The series told the story of two talented but flawed plastic surgeons who run the McNamara/Troy plastic surgery center.

Julian McMahon
Julian McMahon on Nip/Tuck

Julian McMahon played Dr. Christian Troy, who seemed to run more on the edge than his counterpart, Dr. Sean McNamara, played by Dylan Walsh. The series was well known for its graphic content of plastic surgeries as well as its many adult themes (i.e. lots of sex). But it was an immediate hit, one that lasted for six seasons.

Dr. Doom
Julian McMahon as Dr. Doom

With most of his attention focused on Nip/Tuck, Julian McMahon still was able to move on to a few other projects during his Nip/Tuck days. Most notably he was the villainous Victor Von Doom/Doctor Doom in the 2005 movie Fantastic Four and then reprised the character in the 2007 feature film follow-up, Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer. Also during this time, he was seen in Premonition and Prisoner.


Julian McMahon

With the success of Nip/Tuck, one would think that Julian McMahon would have more on his plate. Maybe the fact that he was so successful in the TV series is why he wasn’t seen in much following the show’s end. He could afford to be a bit choosier.

He followed Nip/Tuck with the Bruce Willis-Morgan Freeman-led feature RED, which also boasted Helen Mirren, Mary-Louise Parker, and Karl Urban as co-stars. Things slowed down significantly for McMahon after RED, as he appeared in only a handful of features. These included Faces in the Crowd, Bait, Fire with Fire, and Paranoia.

On the TV side of things, where McMahon seems to have a better footing, he moved on to the series Full Circle. He then found some time on Hunters, Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency, and then finally Marvel’s Runaways playing Jonah, a.k.a. Magistrate, the bad guy we love to hate.  


Julian McMahon’s personal life has been a fairly active one if you consider three marriages as such. As previously mentioned, McMahon was briefly married to Dannii Minogue but divorced after only 18 months.

Dannii Minogue
Dannii Minogue

His second marriage, to Brooke Burns, lasted only a bit longer, long enough for the couple to see the birth of McMahon’s only child, Madison. To both McMahon and Burns’ credit, they have raised their daughter together seemingly without any strife or issue. They have and continue to see eye-to-eye on how to properly parent the now 19-year old college student.

It was Madison who helped her father propose to his then long-time girlfriend (and now wife number three) during a trip to Paris. Julian McMahon, who at the time had been dating model Kelly Paniagua for 11 years, planned to pop the question when they arrived in Paris. But after discussing the matter with his then 14-year old daughter, McMahon abruptly changed his mind and popped the question right there on the airplane. Thankfully, Paniagua said yes and six months later the couple tied the knot in a ceremony in Lake Tahoe, California.


Julian McMahon

Now 52-years-old Julian McMahon is extremely proud of his daughter and how they have forged their relationship over the years. He recalled his cooking for her on The Rachael Ray Show stating, “Raising her, I cooked pretty much every night, and I made her breakfast and stuff. And that becomes a little routine-ish, I guess to a certain extent.”

Julian McMahon continues to look for his next Nip/Tuck. Currently, he can be seen on the TV series FBI: Most Wanted, a series he just couldn’t pass on.

Julian McMahon
Julian McMahon on FBI: Most Wanted

He said via AmoMama, “When you get something from Dick Wolf, it’s not something you just casually look at.” So far, even though the series has been on a pandemic-related hiatus, it has received good reviews, and who knows, maybe this is the Nip/Tuck Julian McMahon has been seeking.