Jay Bunyan (later on changed to Jay Ryan) was born on August 29, 1981 in Greater Auckland, New Zealand. Jay Bunyan, he appeared as “Glen” in the “Scallywag Pirates”(2000) and had a minor role in Xena. He is known for his portrayal of Jack Scully in the Australian soap opera Neighbours from late 2002 until January 2005. He reportedly turned down a major role in a Canadian action movie to play the part. When auditioning for roles in LA, it was suggested that Ryan change his name. It was felt that “Bunyan” sounded too similar to bunion. Starting 2007 Ryan has played Seaman William “Billy” Webb aka Spider in the popular Australian drama, Sea Patrol.
Jay felt a passion for acting from a very early age, where his kindergarden encouraged the creative side of the children and had weekly puppet shows, which Jay became mesmorised with. Just around the corner was the Playhouse Theatre, a famous theatre in Auckland where many Kiwi actors have honed and displayed their talents. He began to get involved there from the age of eight, and the passion never faded.
Finishing school and having gained confidence and acting skills in his many theatre performances over the years, Jay took his first full time job with the Scallywag Pirates, a performing troupe of two (then later four) performers who did childrens songs and shows all over New Zealand. The Pirates became so popular they even produced many CDs and videos. It was extremely hard, but rewarding work.
Jay featured in many other New Zealand TV shows over the years, including Young Hercules, Jackson’s Wharf and Xena: Warrior Princess to name a few. He also did a very short guest role in the popular worldwide kids show The Tribe, in which production company Cloud 9 flew Jay down from Auckland to Wellington for the day to test out his skills, as they had interest in him for other roles. During this time Jay also filmed two American made for TV movies, Superfire and You Wish.
However, Jay was next cast in the role of Sam Hooper in Being Eve, a hugely successful young teen show in Australia and other overseas countries. He filmed one season of that, earning himself a name among the fans, before getting an audition in Auckland for Jan Russ, a casting agent from the hugely popular Australian soap Neighbours.
Jay blitzed the audition and was told he had a role if he wanted it. Thinking seriously of the ramifications, Jay agonised for months over whether to take the role or not, seriously thinking of the effects it would have on his life and career. Offered a three year contract, Jay eventually settled on two years, and took the role. He ended up in the role of Jack Scully, an existing character (only ever seen briefly a year beforehand), but the role was recreated just for him. In August 2002 Jay left his home in Auckland and relocated to Melbourne, Australia, where he currently lives and shoots Neighbours.
Not content with a starring role in one of Australia’s most popular soaps, Jay also began work over the Christmas break of 2002 on a play called The Packer, in which he plays Shane, a ‘Westie’ from a packing factory who is going through the trials of love. Not only acting, Jay involved himself in all aspects of making the play come to life. It’s due for two seasons, one in Wellington in August of 2003, and then Melbourne the following September. Jay hopes to use this as a chance to show of his real acting skills and range, not all of which can necessarily be seen in one TV character.
You can currently see Jay on the CW’s Beauty and the Beast.