Peta Toppano

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Peta Toppano
Peta Toppano.jpg
Born Peita Margaret Toppano
(1951-04-08) 8 April 1951 (age 63)
London, England
Other names Pieta Toppano
Occupation Actor, Singer, Dancer
Website
petatoppano.com

Peta Toppano (born Peita Margaret Toppano on 8 April 1951[1][2]) is a British-born Australian actress who found success in Australian television. She is best known for her roles in popular television series such as The Young Doctors, Prisoner, and Home & Away and Heartbreak High as well as glamour series Return to Eden in which she played a "superbitch".[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Toppano was born in Finsbury Park, London, England, and grew up in Cammeray, New South Wales, Australia. The daughter of classical musician Enzo Toppano and actress and dancer Peggy Mortimer, she was a middle child, having a younger brother Lorenzo, and a younger brother Dean.[2] She trained at the Ensemble Theatre under the guidance of American stage actor Hayes Gordon.[4] As a teenager, Toppano won a scholarship to study ballet in the South of France, but an injury prevented progression in that field.[2]

Career[edit]

In the mid 1970s Toppano had a regular role in teen oriented soap opera Class of '75. In 1976 she was an original cast member of serial The Young Doctors, as Dr Gail Henderson. In 1979 she was an original cast member of drama serial Prisoner. She played the pivotal role of Karen Travers, staying with the series 12 months.

Toppano played Diana Morales in A Chorus Line for two years in both Sydney and Melbourne, during the late 1970s. She was still active on the stage 15 years later, playing Fantine in Les Misérables for the Cameron Mackintosh organization.

During 1989 and 1990, she played the part of Kate in the ABC mini-series The Paper Man starring opposite Oliver Tobias, John Bach and Rebecca Gilling. Paper Man was filmed both in Australia and England.

Later, Toppano starred opposite John Waters and Cybill Shepherd in the 1990 Turner made-for-television-movie Which Way Home, filmed in Thailand and New Zealand.

Other film roles include: Harbour Beat for Palm Beach Pictures, Echoes of Paradise directed by Phillip Noyce and starring opposite Wendy Hughes and John Lone, and Seeing Red and Street Hero directed by Michael Pattinson starring opposite Vince Colossimo.

Later soap roles were in Return to Eden as "superbitch" Jilly Stewart and Home & Away as Helen Poulos.[3][4]

In 2005, she took time out from show business to moonlight as a shop assistant, wrapping crystal and swiping credit cards, so as to take her mind off personal tragedies such as the death of her mother: "I am just taking some time out and doing some of my favourite things which are being around beautiful objects and talking to people," she said.[5] Toppano sometimes hosts events for her fans, such as a 2010 event at the Old Joint Stock Theatre in Birmingham, England.[6]

Personal life[edit]

Toppano resides in Sydney, Australia. She has been married three times, including a brief marriage at age 18 to musician Brian O'Toole, a marriage to her Prisoner co-star Barry Quin in the 1980s, and a marriage in the 1990s to billionaire Kerry Stokes.[5] She survived cancer surgery in 1996.[5]

Performances[edit]

Television[edit]

  • 1968 – Homicide – Marika Lucas – 7 Network/Crawford Productions
  • 1970 – Bobby Limb's Sounds of the Seventies – Various – NLT Productions
  • 1975 – Class of '75 – Gina Ferrari – The Grundy Organisation
  • 1976 – Rush – Drusilla – Australian Broadcasting Corp./Portman Productions
  • 1976 – King's Men – Policewoman – Grundy Television Productions
  • 1976/77 – The Young Doctors – Dr. Gail Henderson – Grundy Television Productions
  • 1977 – The Outsiders – Sally Gower – Australian Broadcasting Corporation
  • 1978 – Skyways – Sister Theresa – Crawford Productions
  • 1978/79 – Prisoner (Karen Travers) – Sustaining Role – Grundy Television Productions
  • 1979/80 – Water under the Bridge – Uke – Shotton Productions
  • 1981 – Sara Dane (Alison Barwell) – Major Role – S.A.F.C.
  • 1981 – Bellamy – Meredith – Grundy Television Productions
  • 1981/82 – M.P.S.I.B. (Lisa Hesse) – Lead – ABC TV
  • 1982 – Parkinson – (Tribute to Cy Coleman) – Channel 10
  • 1985 – Return to Eden (Jilly Stewart) – Leading Role – McElroy & McElroy
  • 1987 – The Flying Doctors – Carol Brett – Crawford Productions/Nine Network Australia
  • 1987 – Fields of Fire II (Gina) – Leading Role – Palm Beach Pictures/Zenith UK
  • 1988 – Fields of Fire III (Gina) – Leading Role – Palm Beach Pictures/Zenith UK
  • 1988 – E Street – Miki Fallon – Westside Film & Television
  • 1989 – G.P. (Anna Carelli) – 10 Episode Mini Series – ABC/RCC
  • 1989 – All the Rivers Run II – Eunice Pike – Crawford PDS. Director: John Power
  • 1989/90 – Paper Man (Kate Cromwell) – Mini Series – ABC/RCC/GRANADA UK
  • 1990 – Which Way Home (Annie) – With Cybill Shepherd – McElroy/Turner TV
  • 1990 – Harbour Beat – Mrs. De Santos – AFFC/Palm Beach Pictures/Zenith Entertainment
  • 1991 – Piccolo Mondo – Lena – Generation Films
  • 1991 – A Country Practice (Colleen Nicholls) – 4 Episodes – JNP Films P/L
  • 1994 – Heartbreak High (Stella Ioannou) – 20 Episodes – Gannon Television PTY Ltd
  • 1995 – Bordertown (Diomira) – TV Mini Series – 10 Episodes – ABC TV. Director: Ian Gilmour
  • 1998 – Never Tell Me Never (M.C.) – TV Movie – Golden Square Pictures/Palm Beach Pictures., Director: David Elfick
  • 2000 – Above the Law (Mrs. Giovanelli) – TV Series – Columbia Tri Star TV PTY Ltd/McElroy Television
  • 2002 – 3–4 Ever – Unnamed Character – Fandango/Vertigo Productions
  • 2000/09 – Home & Away – Helen Poulos – 7 Network

Film[edit]

  • 1984 – Street Hero – AFI Nomination, Best Supporting Actress – Paul Dainty Production. Director: Michael Pattinson
  • 1986 – Echoes of Paradise – Judy – Great Scott Productions. Director: Philip Noyce
  • 1991 – Seeing Red – Vivian – Goosey Ltd. Virginia Rouse
  • 1993 – The Feds (Brandy) – TV Movie – Director: George Ogilvie

Theatre[edit]

  • 1972 – Godspell – Ken Brodziak Productions
  • 1976 – Spats at the Speakeasy – Theatre Restaurant – Speakeasy PTY with Bruce Barry
  • 1977 – A Chorus Line (14 months) – Diana Morales – Edgley International & JC Williamsons
  • 1980 – My Fair Lady – Eliza Doolittle – Delicado Prods Tour
  • 1982 – I Love My Wife – Monica – JC Williamsons
  • 1983 – They're Playing Our Song (Sonia) – Throughout UK
  • 1986 – Are You Lonesome Tonight (Priscilla) – Her Majesty's Sydney
  • 1987 – Danny & the Deep Blue Sea (Roberta) – Globe Theatre Co. Sydney – (Nominated Best Actress – Sydney Theatre Critics)
  • 1988 – Nine – 88 Tour (Claudia) – Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney – Nove Productions
  • 1990/91 – Les Misérables (Fantine) – Cameron Mackintosh – (May 1990 – March 1991)
  • 1990 – Love Letters with Andrew McFarlane – Victoria Arts Centre – Directed by George Fairfax
  • 1991 – Love Letters with Shane Porteous – TN Complex – Brisbane
  • 1991 – Love and Magic in Mamma's Kitchen (Lead) – Belvoir St. Theatre
  • 1996 – Merrily We Roll Along (Beth) – Sydney Theatre Company

Commercials[edit]

  • 1989 – Lux 100%

Awards[edit]

In 1990, Toppano earned a Logie nomination as Best Actress in a tele-movie or mini-series, for her portrayal of Gina Augostini in Fields of Fire III, produced by David Elfick in 1989.[7]

Other award nominations have included an AFI nomination for Best Supporting Actress for the feature film Street Hero, and for playing Uke in Sumner Locke Elliot's Australian saga Water under the Bridge. Toppano was also nominated for a Sydney Theatre Critics Award for her role as Roberta in John Patrick Shanley’s Danny and the Deep Blue Sea.[7]

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ GRO Birth Index England
  2. ^ a b c Lawson, Valerie. "Peggy sang her own sweet tune", Sidney Morning Herald (13 December 2003): "They fell in love and married in 1950 in a church at Golders Green, London. Their daughter, Peta, was born a year later."
  3. ^ a b Mercado, Andrew. Super Aussie Soaps: Behind the Scenes of Australia's Best Loved TV Shows (2004): "Peta Toppano, once tagged as the nice girl, found herself typecast as a superbitch after screaming 'No!' so many times as Jilly."
  4. ^ a b c "Peta Toppano: Biography", petatoppano.com. Retrieved 2 December 2010.
  5. ^ a b c Benns, Matthew. "Billionaire's ex-wife earns $17 an hour as shop assistant", Sidney Morning Herald (20 March 2005).
  6. ^ "An Audience with Peta Toppano ", LiveBrum: Event Listings for the City of Birmingham, UK. Retrieved 2 December 2010.
  7. ^ a b "An Audience with Peta Toppano". oldjointstocktheatre.co.uk. 2010. Retrieved 12 December 2010. 

External links[edit]