Baker is also part of a family of Australian entertainers who have made it here in the U.S.
Nicole Kidman is godmother to one of his sons, and she and husband Keith Urban serenaded Baker and his wife at a dinner honoring him in L.A. a while back.
"I was incredibly blown away with their gregariousness, the fact they got up and did that for me," Baker said.
But he acknowledges that before "The Mentalist," he was not in the same league as some of his fellow Australians. He's been in 20 films, including "Margin Call," where he played an unscrupulous executive.
He also starred in two other CBS TV shows, "Smith" and "The Guardianm," neither a big hit.
"So did you think at this point, 'Well, I'm going to be a good actor, I'm going to get parts, but I'm not going to really be a big star'?" asked Braver.
"Well, I just thought that I'd be a working actor and as long as I can pay the bills I'll be fine."
But one person who believed he COULD be a star was CBS President and CEO Les Moonves. He thought "The Mentalist" was just the right part for Baker.
"I remember having a great meeting with Les after 'The Mentalist' had started and it was very successful," Baker said. "I went and saw him in his office and he just said, 'Look, I just wanted to say congratulations and I told you so,'" Baker recalled. "'And I'm glad it happened on my network. Now get outta here!'"
But even with "The Mentalist" just renewed for a fifth season, and his star on the rise, that's not what matters most to Simon Baker. He says there's one role more important than any he'll play on screen.
"All this stuff is great but, you know, at the end of the day being a parent, that's head and shoulders above it all."
For more info:
- "The Mentalist" (Official CBS site)