It’s been nearly 10 years since Aussie Daniel Lissing made his debut on Hallmark Channel as the original Hunk in Red Serge on When Calls the Heart. The actor became a favorite among Hearties for his portrayal of Mountie Jack Thornton, who fell for schoolteacher Elizabeth Thatcher (played by Erin Krakow) in one of the network’s sweetest romances. (And it’s Hallmark we’re talking about, so that’s saying something.)
Though the actor left the show at the end of Season 5, he continues to be a favorite among fans.
Since he’s super cool — and we miss seeing him on the show — here are 12 facts about the actor, musician, producer, and businessman:
1. He was a soap star in Australia
Before moving to the United States, Lissing appeared on the Australian soap opera Home and Away. He is one of many actors who had roles on the show before embarking on a career in Hollywood. Heather Ledger, Isla Fisher, Chris Hemsworth, and Melissa George also appeared in the series.
2. He is a talented musician
Lissing told Entertainment Tonight that he played and sang in bars in Australia before making the move to the States. He focused on acting after he arrived, but he continues to play guitar and sing. Here’s a clip of him singing a duet with his When Calls the Heart co-star Erin Krakow:
3. Speaking of Erin Krakow, Lissing said he would love to work with her again
“About two or three years ago, I sent a big proposal to Hallmark pitching a Christmas movie with Erin and I in modern day, and they didn’t think it was the right time,” he said during a 2020 interview. “Maybe it is now?”
(Well, Hallmark? Is it?)
4. He left When Calls the Heart for personal reasons
Fans were shocked when Lissing’s character, Jack Thornton, was killed at the end of Season 5, especially since he had just married Elizabeth (Erin Krakow).
When asked about his decision to leave the series after so many years, he made it clear the specifics would remain private.
“Circumstances arose for me where I needed to leave When Calls the Heart for reasons that are very personal to me,” he said in a Facebook Live event. “I went to Hallmark and they were nothing but supportive of me. I went to the girls and they were nothing but supportive of me.”
5. He doesn’t regret his decision to leave When Calls the Heart…
In a 2020 interview with Entertainment Tonight, Lissing talked about how different his life would be if he had stayed on the show. For one thing, he might never have met his wife, who he fell for on a trip to Iceland. (She is from Poland originally, but they met in a Reykjavik bar.)
“It’s funny the way the world works,” he said. “If I had stayed on the show, and been there during season 6 and shot and all that kind of stuff, then I wouldn’t have met Nadia, you know? And I wouldn’t be getting married and I wouldn’t be at this place in my life where I feel really in line with what I’m meant to be doing personally and professionally, so no regrets at all. …How can I look at my future wife and say, ‘Oh, I should’ve stayed on this job?’ She’s my life, you know? That’s my personal life and that’s exponentially more important to me than a job.”
6. ….but he does miss his Hallmark family
In the same ET interview, Lissing said he loved his time at Hallmark.
“It is a family, and that aspect of things I really miss,” he said. “I love all the cast and the people at Hallmark. My time with Hallmark was nothing but positive and I’m truly grateful to be a part of it.”
7. He is open to reprising his role as Jack Thornton (kind of)
He did it once, appearing as the spirit of Jack Thornton on When Hope Calls: A Country Christmas in 2021.
In an interview, he said it was emotional to be back in his old costume, though the boots were killer.
“I forgot how hard the boots were to put on! So, I was like, ‘Oh yeah! That’s right. The boots!’ You forget that stuff,” he told Entertainment Tonight.
But once he was back in his mountie uniform, he got all the feels.
“I am so grateful to have played [Thornton], because that character was a really big part of my time, and my life, for a span from 2013 to 2021,” he said. “That’s a long time to do it. There was a break in between, and it was just for this; for this one moment again with Jack. I felt a lot of gratitude.”
But Lissing made it clear he would only return for brief appearances (as opposed to rejoining the cast), which makes sense because his character is — um, well — dead.
8. He is more than just a pretty face
When Lissing arrived in the States at the age of 30, he focused on his acting career. When he was successful, he used the money he earned to invest in several companies, including a plant-based fast-food restaurant called The Burger Patch.
His wife is also a smart cookie. When the pair first met, she had just — at the ripe old age of 25 — finished earning a master’s degree in business.
You go, girl.
9. Yeah, he is married (sigh)
Daniel and Nadia tied the knot in a private ceremony in 2022. The pair had originally planned a wedding in Bali but had to reschedule because of COVID.
11. He is a huge supporter of the South Sydney Rabbitohs
The rugby team is one of the oldest in Australia and has a massive and devout following.
In an interview for the team’s Facebook page, Lissing became emotional talking about how much the team meant to him.
“That was our happy place growing up,” he said.
12. He is not just a Hallmark hunk
Before joining the cast of When Calls the Heart, Lissing played Navy SEAL James King in the series Last Resort. He also starred opposite Victoria Justice in the MTV show Eye Candy.
During his time on When Calls the Heart, he had a recurring role in Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce. Since leaving Hallmark, he has guest-starred in the TV shows S.W.A.T. and The Rookie.
In 2021, he starred in A Christmas Star for Great American Family. In 2022, he played opposite Merritt Patterson in Catering Christmas. We are keeping our fingers crossed that he makes an appearance on the network’s 2023 Great American Christmas.