Belinda Jane Emmett (12 April 1974 – 11 November 2006) was an Australian actress and singer. She was best known for her roles in the TV drama series Home and Away and All Saints as well as comedy Hey Dad..!. She was married to Australian television host, comedian and media personality Rove McManus.
Belinda Jane Emmett
12 April 1974
Gosford, New South Wales, Australia
|Died||11 November 2006 (aged 32)|
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
|Cause of death||Breast cancer|
|Other names||Belinda McManus (married name)|
|Spouse(s)||Rove McManus (2005–2006)|
Emmett was born in Gosford to Michael and Laraine Emmett and grew up in Umina Beach, on the Central Coast of New South Wales. She had three siblings named Matthew, Shane and Lesley. Emmett went to school at St John's at Woy Woy, St Joseph's at Gosford and Corpus Christi at Tuggerah.
Emmett worked at the local Coast Rock FM radio station and sang lead vocals in the band Big Baby Jam. In 1994, she gained her first major role on Australian television as Tracy Russell in the sitcom Hey Dad..!. In 1995 she joined Home and Away, playing Gail, a local fishermans daughter, who fell for Travis Nash, played by Nic Testoni. In 1996 she became the third actress to play Rebecca Fisher, where she portrayed the daughter of school headmaster Donald Fisher and later wife of Travis Nash. This role earned her nominations for Silver Logie for Most Popular Actress in 1998 and 1999, as well as a Gold Logie nomination in 1999. She posed naked in the special "Angels and Devils" edition of the Australian nude celebrity art magazine Black+White.
From 2000 to 2001, Emmett played Jodi Horner the Ward Clerk, in the medical drama All Saints.
Emmett was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1998, aged 24. She took a break from her role as Rebecca Fisher/Nash on Home and Away (during which time the part was played by Megan Connolly) and underwent surgery to remove a malignant tumour, followed by six weeks of radiotherapy. She left the cast of Home and Away the following year and went on to appear in nine episodes of All Saints as Jodi Horner between 2000 and 2001.
In September 2001, on the set of the Australian film The Nugget in which she co-starred as Cheryl with Eric Bana, Emmett began to experience intense back pain. Further tests revealed that the cancer had spread to her bones.
In 2002, she told The Australian Women's Weekly that "It wasn't a matter of if, it was a matter of when. The little bastards were going to get me. It was a weird sensation, almost an out-of-body experience. I don't think I'll ever be able to explain it." In an interview with Charles Wooley on 60 Minutes that same year, she said:
|“||"I think people underestimate the power that they have within themselves, I really do, and I think these kinds of challenges, they force you to look that little bit deeper and see what you're really made of. I always knew I was pretty strong. I've always been pretty gutsy and pretty ballsy, but I think I surprised myself this time around."||”|
In 1998, Emmett released a cover of Michael Jackson's "Off the Wall". She also recorded a duet with Marcia Hines, a cover of the James Taylor hit "Shower the People" (on which Carly Simon sang backing vocals), which appeared on Hines' 2004 album Hinesight – Songs From the Journey. Emmett's first album, So I Am, was released after her death and debuted at number 10 on the ARIA Charts. It featured 12 songs co-written by Emmett and longtime collaborators Phill Buckle, Andrew Furze and others.
The album was completed the week following her death by Producer/ Arranger Daniel Denholm. It was recorded at a number of studios including Subterrane Recording Studio. Belinda's ballad "Less Than Perfect" was played at her funeral and was released to radio shortly after. Co-written with Andrew Furze, it featured lyrics about accepting a "less than perfect life". It was produced by Daniel Denholm and featured Bass by Jackie Orsascky. "Less Than Perfect" was also given away as a complimentary CD in the Herald Sun Publication.
On 29 January 2005, Emmett married comedian and TV personality Rove McManus, at the Mary Immaculate Church in Waverley in the eastern part of Sydney. She walked down the aisle to Stevie Wonder's ballad "You Are the Sunshine of My Life". The couple had met at the opening of Fox Studios in Sydney in 1999. "We're kindred spirits", Emmett told a newspaper at the time. Guests included Marcia Hines, Stephen Curry, Merrick Watts and Peter Helliar. At their reception, the couple danced to Ben Folds' song "The Luckiest".
On 11 November 2006, Emmett died from cancer at St Vincent's Hospital in Sydney, 6 months before her 33rd birthday. She had been there since reportedly suffering "stroke-like symptoms" the previous Monday.
Prime Minister of Australia, John Howard, said he and Mrs Howard were saddened by Emmett's death. "She fought a very courageous battle against cancer", Howard said. "On behalf of Janette and myself, I extend my deepest sympathies to her husband, Rove McManus, and her family and friends." Opposition Leader Kim Beazley also passed on his sympathies. "This is truly sad news which I think will affect all Australians", Beazley said. "The tenderness and care in their relationship (Rove and Belinda) through their adversity, I think, has been an inspiration to many, many Australians."
Emmett's funeral was held at 11am on 17 November 2006 in Sydney's Mary Immaculate Church, the place where she married Rove McManus 18 months before. She was privately cremated.
On 13 and 14 November 2006, Channel 7 programs Home and Away and All Saints each dedicated an episode to Emmett. The message in the closing credits read "In memory of our friend, Belinda Emmett 1974 – 2006". It also had information for people to donate money for breast cancer research. On 17 November 2006, Home and Away included a special montage of scenes featuring Emmett in her role as Rebecca Fisher/Nash. It was followed by a black screen showing the same memorial message as well as information about donating to The McGrath Foundation. ABC program Spicks & Specks also displayed a memorial note at the conclusion of an episode aired on 15 November 2006.
On 16 November 2006, Belinda Emmett's family released one of her songs, "Less Than Perfect", on Odeo. The track, from a solo album she was working on at the time of her death, was also played at her funeral. One month later, Emmett's younger brother Shane performed One Sweet Day at the annual Carols in the Domain in tribute to his sister, who regularly appeared at the event between 1995 and 2002.
In a newspaper interview published on 1 April 2007 promoting his return to television, Rove McManus revealed that Emmett's solo album had been completed. The title track, "So I Am", was issued as a single the next day, with the album following on 28 April 2007. Profits from Hooch Records, the company Emmett formed with McManus to release the album, will go to the McGrath Foundation to support breastcare nurses.
In July 2007, ABC-TV aired the episode Some Meaning in this Life of the documentary series Australian Story which paid tribute to Emmett and her struggle with cancer. Her co-star in The Nugget Eric Bana introduced the episode which featured contributions from Emmett's family and Rove McManus. The episode won the award for most outstanding public affairs report at the 2008 Logie Awards.
In an episode of The Chasers War on Everything, Andrew Hansen sang a satirical eulogy about glorifying public figures after their deaths. After a few examples, Hansen pretends to start a verse about Emmett before being signalled to stop by other Chaser members and the entire audience.
On 11 November 2007, a year after Emmett's death, her husband Rove McManus dedicated his weekly show Rove, to the memory of Belinda Emmett.
On 20 May 2008 one of Emmett's songs, "Beautiful Thing", was included in Olivia Newton-John's new CD "A Celebration in Song: Olivia Newton-John and Friends". This CD was created to help raise funds for Olivia's wellness centre in Melbourne, Australia. It consists of a number of duets with Australian and international guest artists which are meant to inspire people touched by cancer. Belinda's song was extracted from her "So I Am" CD and the track is 'dedicated with love' to her.
- Byrne, Holly; Wilson, Stephanie (11 November 2006). "Belinda's brave battle ends". News.com.au. Archived from the original on 5 December 2006. Retrieved 11 November 2006.
- Wooley, Charles (29 September 2002). "Fight of her life". 60 Minutes. Archived from the original on 27 August 2006. Retrieved 11 November 2006.
- "Emmett dies after battle with cancer". Sydney Morning Herald. 11 November 2006. Retrieved 11 November 2006.
- "Belinda Emmett loses battle with cancer". Ninemsn; AAP. 11 November 2006. Archived from the original on 2 November 2007. Retrieved 11 November 2006.
- Metlikovec, Jane (11 November 2006). "Belinda Emmett brings out stars". Herald Sun. Retrieved 15 November 2006.
- "Rove farewells Belinda this Friday". Ninemsn; AAP. 14 November 2006. Archived from the original on 2 November 2007. Retrieved 14 November 2006.
- Byrne, Holly; Wilson, Stephanie (13 November 2006). "Rove pours heart out for Belinda". News Limited. Archived from the original on 10 February 2008. Retrieved 19 June 2008.
- Moses, Alexa (17 November 2006). "Rove Belinda's 'hero', mourners told". The Age. Retrieved 17 November 2006.
- Clune, Richard (1 April 2007). "Rove McManus' broken heart". News Limited. Retrieved 28 April 2007.
- "So I Am release news". Mushroom Music Publishing. 2 April 2007. Archived from the original on 21 April 2007. Retrieved 17 November 2006.