The life and career of one the most popular actors in Australian film and TV, Rebecca Gibney, was celebrated in a heartwarming edition of Channel 7’s This Is Your Life on Monday night.
A rollcall of Gibney’s friends and colleagues paid tribute to the 57-year-old Gold Logie winner, who has starred in many of Australia’s favourite shows, from Packed To The Rafters and Halifax FP to Come In Spinner and The Flying Doctors.
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Some of Australia’s biggest acting names, from Erik Thomson, Zoe Ventoura and Sigrid Thornton to Kerrie Armstrong and Jane Hall, shared the couch and special memories.
Those who couldn’t be there in person – from Hugh Jackman and Deborra-Lee Furness to Claudia Karvan, Jane Kennedy, Hugh Sheridan and even New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern – sent special messages via video.
Gibney was overcome with emotion on numerous occasions, with host Melissa Doyle saying she could “feel the love” in the room.
But the most emotional moment of the night came when Gibney was reunited with her mum Shirley, who she hadn’t seen for three years, her two brothers, and two of her three sisters.
As her siblings walked out, holding on to Shirley as she slowly walked towards the daughter she hadn’t seen in years, the tears were flowing on both sides.
Even Melissa Doyle got teary as the song “We Are Family” played and the family shared hugs.
“I feel like I don’t want to interrupt this moment!” Doyle said.
Growing up in New Zealand, Shirley revealed that as a child, her daughter’s ambition was to be the first female prime minister of the country.
“She was good at school … and she turned out to be this amazing actress who, when she was in in her teens, would not go into a shop on her own because she was too shy,” Shirley said.
Doyle then asked Rebecca’s mum if there was anything she wanted to say to her daughter.
“I’d like to say thank you, for never forgetting where you come from,” she said.
“Never forgetting the people that you work with, the friends that you’ve made.
“You do things for others that a lot of people don’t know about.
“I’m just very proud of the woman you are.”
“I love you so much,” Gibney answered.
“Family is everything.
“We’ve learned from COVID, family and relationships are more important than anything else.”
Gibney’s mum and siblings shared the This Is Your Life couch with her husband, production designer Richard Bell, and their son Zac, who is following in his mum’s acting footsteps.
A household name, Gibney has enjoyed a stellar career, appearing in 28 TV series and miniseries, 15 telemovies and 11 films.
The special episode was filled with revealing stories and a one-of-a-kind musical tributes.
One was by John Paul Young, singing Love Is In The Air – the song Gibney encouraged her friends to dance to during COVID lockdowns.
The other was by Daryl Braithwaite, who sang Gibney’s favourite song, his smash hit version of the Rickie Lee Jones song Horses.
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