Rebecca Wilson

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Rebecca Wilson
Born(1961-12-22)22 December 1961
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
Died7 October 2016(2016-10-07) (aged 54)
OccupationJournalist, radio and television presenter
Years active1980–2016
Spouse(s)Howard Sacre (1990[1]-2003,[2] divorced)
John Hartigan (2012[3]-her death)
ChildrenTwo sons
RelativesBruce Wilson (father)
Jim Wilson (brother)

Rebecca Louise Wilson (22 December 1961 – 7 October 2016) was an Australian sports journalist, radio and television broadcaster and personality, known for the comic television talk sports show The Fat, in which she appeared regularly with host Tony Squires. She was a panellist on numerous television programs including Beauty and the Beast, Sunrise and The Footy Show. She worked in both the newspaper and television industries for over 20 years and won a Kennedy Award in 2013.[4][5]


Early life[edit]

Wilson was born in Brisbane in 1961.[6][7] She recollected that she could not remember a time when newspapers were not in her life – her grandfather was a newsagent and her father a journalist. She attended the University of Queensland and began to study a Bachelor of Arts in journalism, however she was offered a four-year cadetship with the Brisbane Courier-Mail and abandoned her studies in order to take the position.[7]

After four years of general reporting at the Courier-Mail, Wilson moved into television. She worked for Channel 10 Brisbane, where she reported on the Brisbane Commonwealth Games, the Seoul Olympics and rugby league.[8] She also worked for ABC Television as a host and reporter on the show Saturday Afternoon Sports, and was later Media Manager for Super League for four years, a role which she later described as "the most interesting time in my career".[7] Following this, she moved to News Limited as General Manager of their Sydney Olympics Division and then Project Manager for the agency's Rugby World Cup coverage.[8]

Wilson continued her newspaper work with a sports column in the Sunday Telegraph and also co-wrote a sports blog called Bec and Buzz with Phillip Rothfield in the Daily Telegraph.[9] Wilson's opinion pieces regarding the A-League have been controversial and faced significant criticism.[10][11][12] She leaked the names and faces of 198 individuals who were banned from entering football stadiums by the Football Federation Australia.[13] As a result, Wilson received death threats from the public and the Football Federation issued a statement urging football fans to refrain from threatening her.[14]

She was a co-host on the Vega 95.3 breakfast show with Tony Squires and Mikey Robins.[15] In early 2009, Wilson announced that she was leaving Vega and in October it was announced that Vega would no longer continue with the breakfast show.[16]

Wilson was a regular panellist on SportsNight with James Bracey on Sky News Australia.[17]


In 2013, Wilson was a joint finalist in the Walkley Awards for Excellence in Journalism in the Print/Text News Report category.[18] The same year, she was a joint finalist in the Kennedy Awards For Excellence in New South Wales Journalism in the Outstanding Investigative Reporting category and the Splash of the Year category.[19] Her team won the Splash of the Year category.[20] She was awarded 2016 Australian Sports Commission Media Award for Lifetime Achievement,[21] and later that year, a Walkley Award for Journalistic Leadership.[22]

Television career[edit]

Year(s) Program Network Role
2013–2016 SportsNight with James Bracey Sky News Live Panellist
2010 Sunrise Seven Network Daily commentary on sports stories[23]
2010 2010 Commonwealth Games Foxtel Roving reporter[24]
2008 2008 Summer Olympics Seven Network Ceremonies[25]
2005 The Footy Show (rugby league) Nine Network Panellist[26]
2004 2004 Summer Olympics Seven Network Opening ceremony[27]
2004 110% Tony Squires Seven Network Co-host[28]
2000–2003 The Fat ABC Television Panellist[29]
1992–1995 Saturday Afternoon Sports ABC Television Compere[29]
1984–1988 Ten News (Brisbane) Network Ten Senior sports reporter[24]

Personal life[edit]

Wilson was the daughter of former News Limited foreign correspondent Bruce Wilson, and the sister of sports reporter Jim Wilson.[6] She was previously married to television producer Howard Sacre with whom she had two children.[30] Her second marriage was to former News Limited chief executive, John Hartigan.[31]

Wilson was a repeat offender on driving charges including drink driving and driving without a licence.[32][33]


Wilson died at her family home in Sydney on 7 October 2016 from breast cancer.[34] Her death was announced that morning by her friend and radio broadcaster Alan Jones who subsequently wrote an obituary in The Australian.[35]

Her death came as a shock to many people around her because she had kept her diagnosis a secret.[4][34][36] Her funeral was held at St Andrew's Cathedral, Sydney on 14 October 2016.[37]

Wilson is survived by her husband John and two sons.[34][38]


  1. ^ "Harto's heartfelt tribute to Bec Wilson". Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  2. ^ "Rebecca Wilson is at it YET AGAIN......!". Retrieved 25 October 2016.
  3. ^ "Subscribe to The Australian". Retrieved 25 October 2016.(subscription required)
  4. ^ a b "Sports journalist Rebecca Wilson has died". AAP. 7 October 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  5. ^ "2013 Awards - The NRMA Kennedy Awards for Excellence in Journalism". Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  6. ^ a b Nguyen, Kenneth (23 March 2004). "Blood sports". Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  7. ^ a b c Tingle, Greg (14 April 2003). "Interview: Rebecca Wilson". Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  8. ^ a b "Rebecca Wilson". Saxton. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  9. ^ Rothfield, Phil; Wilson, Rebecca (12 December 2010). "Inglis for better or for worse?". Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  10. ^ "The culture war". Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  11. ^ "Faux media outrage is driven by prejudice, not hooliganism". 9 January 2014.
  12. ^ "FFA, David Gallop, Seb Ryall calls for boycott, Melbourne Victory's Anthony Di Pietro responds". 2 December 2015.
  13. ^ "Football versus Rebecca Wilson and Alan Jones – The Story So Far –". 25 November 2015. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  14. ^ "FFA: Stop sending Rebecca Wilson death threats". FourFourTwo. 25 November 2015. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  15. ^ Squires, Tony. "How Vega's star faded". Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  16. ^ "The show's not going on at Vega". Retrieved 24 October 2016.
  17. ^ "Sky News Live hosts all-girl panel on Sports Tonight". MediaWeek. 8 April 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  18. ^ "FINALISTS ANNOUNCED IN THE 2013 WALKLEY AWARDS FOR EXCELLENCE IN JOURNALISM – The Walkley Foundation for Journalism". Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  19. ^ "Kennedy Awards for NSW journalism: nominees". TV Tonight. 25 July 2013. Retrieved 8 October 2016.
  20. ^ "2013 Awards - The NRMA Kennedy Awards for Excellence in Journalism". Retrieved 9 October 2016.
  21. ^ "Rebecca Wilson honoured with ASC Lifetime Achievement Award for media". Australian Sports Commission website. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
  22. ^ "2016 Walkley Award winners announced". Mediaweek. 4 December 2016. Retrieved 29 March 2019.
  23. ^ "Rebecca Wilson – sport". 2010. Archived from the original on 5 February 2010. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  24. ^ a b "Rebecca Wilson: Roving reporter". 2010. Archived from the original on 9 October 2010. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  25. ^ Knox, David (23 May 2008). "Seven reveals its own Olympic team". Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  26. ^ Maley, Jacqueline; Molitorisz, Sacha (26 May 2005). "Second blood – Nine dumps Wilson". Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  27. ^ "Seven announces anchor and commentary teams for the Olympic Games in Athens". 12 July 2004. Archived from the original on 31 August 2007. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  28. ^ "110% Tony Squires kicks off Monday night on Seven". 13 February 2004. Archived from the original on 30 August 2007. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  29. ^ a b "The Fatties". 2003. Archived from the original on 17 May 2008. Retrieved 28 December 2010.
  30. ^ Chancellor, Jonathan (9 March 2003). "Quick sale for TV duo". Sun-Herald. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  31. ^ Baum, Greg (1 May 2010). "Pillow talk has a place, but not in newspapers". Melbourne. Retrieved 27 December 2010.
  32. ^ "Roosters' salary cap fight brings out worst in NRL". The Sydney Morning Herald. 28 December 2003.
  33. ^ "Sydney's Sunday sports stoush".
  34. ^ a b c "Rebecca Wilson dead at 54". The Mercury. 7 October 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  35. ^ "Jones, Alan - Rebecca Wilson was a warrior who tackled everything head-on". 8 October 2016. Retrieved 28 January 2017. (subscription required)
  36. ^ "Sports journalist Rebecca Wilson dead at 54". Brisbane Times. 6 October 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2016.
  37. ^ Hornery, Andrew (14 October 2016). "Rebecca Wilson funeral attended by media, political and sporting identities". Retrieved 14 October 2016.
  38. ^ "Sports journalist Rebecca Wilson has died". AAP. 7 October 2016. Retrieved 7 October 2016.