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Mike Jenkins grew up in Sydney and attended Shore School in North Sydney. He was involved in the anti-Vietnam war movement and was a conscientious objector, refusing to participate in the school cadets. He studied Arts at Sydney University, majoring in Philosophy, with his Honours thesis focusing on Plato and Justice. His early career in the 60s and 70s involved writing and directing for the ABC, including shows like In My Garden and Bellbird. He met his first wife, Jenny Lee, on the set of Certain Women and they had two boys.

In 1980, Mike was awarded a scholarship to study screenwriting at UCLA, where he learned a great deal about writing screenplays. His film, Scales of Justice, was released in 1983 and received critical acclaim but also faced controversy. Throughout his career, financial security was difficult to come by, as projects could take years to complete and Australian directors were rarely well-paid. Despite this, Mike continued to pursue his passion for storytelling and social justice through his work.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, Mike was involved in various productions, including The Leaving of Liverpool, which he considered a project he was most proud of. The global success of Heartbreak High was still on the horizon, and Mike continued to push boundaries in his writing and directing style, always striving to tell the truth. In 2002, Mike and his partner Amanda purchased a property in Tasmania, initially intended as a holiday home, but they decided to settle there permanently in 2006.

While living in Tasmania, Mike embarked on several creative projects, including building an award-winning house and a boat-rebuilding project. However, in 2021, Mike was diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, which later revealed to be Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, a rare and untreatable neurological disorder. Despite this devastating diagnosis, Mike faced it with courage and passed away peacefully in March 2023. He is survived by his spouse, children, and siblings, leaving behind a legacy of storytelling and social justice advocacy through his work.

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