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Actor Paul Cronin ‘one of our best ever’

By AAP Newswire

Australian actor Paul Cronin, best known for his role in The Sullivans, has been remembered as one of the country's best actors.

The 81-year-old - who won five silver Logies - played Dave Sullivan in the beloved TV drama from 1976-1983, and Gary Hogan in Matlock Police (1971-76).

Cronin's friend and media personality Bert Newtown paid the actor high praise.

"We've lost one of our best actors ever in Australia, and from a personal point of view, one of the best blokes that I've ever known. It's very sad," he told the Seven News.

Cronin was also a passionate AFL supporter who founded the Brisbane Bears in 1986 and served as president of the club from 1987 to 1989.

The team, now known as the Brisbane Lions, wore black armbands as a mark of respect for Cronin in their semi-final match against the GWS Giants on Saturday night, as well as for former AFL player Danny Frawley.

"Paul played a important role in bringing AFL to Queensland through leading the consortium that established the Brisbane Bears," the Lions said in a statement.

"A national Australian Rules football competition exists today because of the passion and energy of people like Paul and we are very grateful for his contribution to this legacy."

He has been remembered by The Sullivans castmate Lorraine Bayley, who played Dave's wife Grace, as a traditional, lovely man.

"Dave Sullivan was a good, honest, old-fashioned man and that's just what Paul was. He was a good, honest, old-fashioned man," she told the Seven Network.

Born in Jamestown, South Australia in 1938, he was married to wife Helen for 50 years. She died in 2013.

He also starred as Gary Hogan in Matlock Police, and its spin-off Solo One (1976), both of which were set in a country town in Victoria.

Other TV credits included Homicide, Division 4, The Flying Doctors, A Place To Call Home, and State Coroner.

In the 1980s, Cronin fronted a series of TV commercials about drink driving, with his tagline "What sort of friend are you? ... Would you let a mate drink and drive?"

He died surrounded by his four daughters and grandchildren, the Herald Sun reported.

"He was the most wonderful father, he was protective, he would have done everything for his girls," daughter Susanne said.

"We loved him so much, he adored mum so much."

Australian entertainers have paid tribute to the actor online.

"Saddened to hear of the death of our old family friend Paul Cronin. Great actor, great guy. Will be missed," comedian Marty Fields wrote on Twitter.

Radio host Simon Owens said he shared many laughs while working together.

"It was an honour to have worked with the great man. Many, many laughs," he tweeted.