Back in the mid ’90s, Cliff Simon was best known as shirt-ripping Mr South Africa 1992 and Gregory Mitchel on M-Net soapie Egoli from 1992 to 1997. Twenty-plenty years later, he’s an established Hollywood actor with roles on The Americans (Hans Christian Kemp, S2 in 2011), Nash Bridges (Dirk van der Goes, S1 in 2000) and Stargate SG-1 (Ba’al from 2001 to 2007). And now he is taking on the paranormal and unexplained in his own reality doccie, Uncharted Mysteries.
“This is something I have always wanted to do, right from the start of my acting. About four or five years ago, husband-wife producer team Robin and Laura Keats (reality show Pit Bulls & Parolees – it’s been running for almost 11 seasons) met me while I was working with rescue pit bulls here in LA. Laura approached me to do a dog-rescue kind of show. That never happened. But Robin (later) approached me to a show called Altered States – which was this show’s original title. I’ve got a military background and I want to be outdoors. I loved the idea. Robin has worked on it for four years back and forth. We’d meet once a year and that’s how long it takes. But we’re here now,” Cliff says about the show finally airing.
Cliff may be greyer and 57 years old, but he’s still a lean, mean fighting machine. “Back in the day we had conscription in South Africa. I served my (military) time, and you get certain skills and you gain confidence and you become a man overnight and that sets you up for the rest of your life. I was a swimmer and an athlete, combined with my military training it gave me a lot of discipline. When I want to do something, I want to do it and get it done properly.”
That doesn’t mean he was prepared for everything he encountered. “I’d love to tell you all about it, but you need to watch – it’s the North Carolina episode, we had an incident happening at 03:00 in the morning… that was really scary and we had to go – fast!”