Peta Toppano (born Peita Margaret Toppano, 8 April 1951) is an English Australian actress, singer and dancer who was successful in television soap opera, after emigrating from her native England. She is known for her series roles in The Young Doctors, Prisoner, as Karen Travers, Home and Away as Helen Poulos, Heartbreak High and Return to Eden, in which she played a "superbitch".
Peita Margaret Toppano
8 April 1951
Haringey North East London, England
|Other names||Pieta Toppano|
|Occupation||Actor, singer, dancer|
Toppano was born in Finsbury Park in London and grew up in Cammeray, New South Wales. The daughter of musicians Enzo Toppano and Peggy Mortimer, she has two younger brothers: Lorenzo and Dean. At 16 she won a ballet scholarship to study in Cannes, Southern France. She returned to Australia to study drama at the Ensemble Studio with teacher Hayes Gordon.
Toppano's television credits include "Lena" in Piccolo Mondo for SBS, "Karen Travers" in Prisoner, "Eunice Pyke" All the Rivers Run and "Gina Agostini" in Fields of Fire. Other appearances include "Stella" in Heartbreak High on Network Ten and "Diomira" in Bordertown for ABC Television. She also appeared in A Country Practice, G.P., E Street and Flying Doctors. In 1989 and 1990 she played Kate in the ABC miniseries The Paper Man with Oliver Tobias, John Bach and Rebecca Gilling (her co-star in Return To Eden), and starred with John Waters and Cybill Shepherd in the 1991 miniseries Which Way Home. Toppano played Jilly Stewart in Return to Eden and Helen Poulos in Home and Away. She hosted a 2010 event for Prisoner fans at the Old Joint Stock Theatre in Birmingham, England.
Film credits include Seeing Red, Harbour Beat and Echoes of Paradise, directed by Phillip Noyce. Toppano was nominated for an AFI Award for her work in Street Hero, directed by Michael Pattinson and starring Vince Colosimo.
While living in Perth for four years, Toppano played "Coral" and later "Gwen" in Michael Gow's Away, "Ruth" in Louis Nowra's Cosi for the Black Swan Theatre Company and appeared in Blood Moon for Theatre West. She starred in a one-woman play written by Heather Nimmo, and directed by Leith Taylor called "One Small Step" for which she received great critical acclaim. Peta was thrilled to be in "The Women" by Claire Boothe Luce playing the "Countess De Lage" with students from Theatre Nepean and Diane Craig, Sandra Eldridge and Sarah Woods, directed by Mary- Ann Gifford. Returning to Sydney, she played "Beth" in Merrily We Roll Along for the Sydney Theatre Company and appeared in Tony Taylor and Tony Sheldon's Elegance at the Tilbury in Woolloomooloo. Toppano played "Fantine" in Les Misérables for the Cameron Mackintosh organization in Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane, "Diana Morales" in A Chorus Line for two years in Sydney and Melbourne during the late 1970s. She played "Sonia" in They're Playing Our Song in the UK, and herself in Godspell. She played "Claudia" in the musical Nine, Eliza Doolittle (with Stuart Wagstaff) in My Fair Lady, "Monica" (with Tony Sheldon) in I Love My Wife, "Roberta" (with Barry Quin) in Danny and the Deep Blue Sea and "Leonarda" in Love and Magic in Mama's Kitchen at the Belvoir St Theatre in Sydney.
|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||Grundy Organisation|
|1976||Rush||Drusilla||ABC Television, 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||ABC Television|
|1977-79||Blankety Blanks||Herself - Panelist||Grundy Television Productions|
|1978||Skyways||Sister Theresa||Crawford Productions|
|1978–79||Prisoner||Karen Travers||Grundy Television Productions|
|1979–80||Water Under the Bridge||Uke||Shotton Productions|
|1981||Sara Dane||Alison Barwell||South Australian Film Corporation|
|1981||Bellamy||Meredith||Grundy Television Productions|
|1981–82||M.P.S.I.B.||Lisa Hesse||ABC Television|
|1982||Parkinson||Tribute to Cy Coleman||Channel 10|
|1985||Return to Eden||Jilly Stewart||McElroy & McElroy|
|1987||The Flying Doctors||Carol Brett||Nine Network (Crawford Productions)|
|1987||Fields of Fire II||Gina||Palm Beach Pictures, Zenith UK|
|1988||Fields of Fire III||Gina||Palm Beach Pictures, Zenith UK|
|1988||E Street||Miki Fallon||Westside Film & Television|
|1989||G.P.||Anna Carelli||ABC TV (10-episode miniseries)|
|1989||All the Rivers Run II||Eunice Pike||Crawford Productions (directed by John Power)|
|1989–90||The Paper Man||Kate Cromwell||ABC, Granada|
|1990||Which Way Home||Annie (with Cybill Shepherd)||McElroy, Turner TV|
|1990||Harbour Beat||Mrs. De Santos||Palm Beach Pictures, Zenith Entertainment|
|1991||Piccolo Mondo||Lena||Generation Films|
|1991||A Country Practice||Colleen Nicholls (four episodes)||JNP Films|
|1993||The Feds (telefilm)||Brandy||Directed by George Ogilvie|
|1994||Heartbreak High||Stella Ioannou (20 episodes)||Gannon Television|
|1995||Bordertown||Diomira (10-episode miniseries)||ABC TV (directed by Ian Gilmour)|
|1998||Never Tell Me Never (telefilm)||M.C.||Golden Square Pictures, Palm Beach Pictures (directed by David Elfick)|
|2000||Above the Law||Mrs. Giovanelli||Columbia TriStar Television, McElroy Television|
|2002||3–4 Ever||Fandango, Vertigo Productions|
|2000–09||Home and Away||Helen Poulos||Seven Network|
|1984||Street Hero||Michael Pattinson||Paul Dainty|
|1986||Echoes of Paradise||Judy||Phillip Noyce||Great Scott Productions|
|1972||Godspell||Ken Brodziak Productions|
|1976||Spats at the Speakeasy||Dinner theater|
|1977||A Chorus Line||Diana Morales||Edgley International, JC Williamsons|
|1980||My Fair Lady||Eliza Doolittle||Delicado Production tour|
|1982||I Love My Wife||Monica||JC Williamsons|
|1983||They're Playing Our Song||Sonia||UK tour|
|1986||Are You Lonesome Tonight?||Priscilla||Her Majesty's Theatre, Sydney|
|1987||Danny and the Deep Blue Sea||Roberta||Globe Theatre Company, Sydney|
|1988||Nine||Claudia||Nove Productions (Adelaide, Brisbane, Sydney)|
|1990||Love Letters||with Andrew McFarlane||Victoria Arts Centre (directed by George Fairfax)|
|May 1990–March 1991||Les Misérables||Fantine||Cameron Mackintosh|
|1991||Love Letters||with Shane Porteous||TN Complex, Brisbane|
|1991||Love and Magic in Mamma's Kitchen||Belvoir St. Theatre|
|1996||Merrily We Roll Along||Beth||Sydney Theatre Company|
- GRO Birth Index England
- 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."
- 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."
- "Peta Toppano: Biography Archived 10 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine", petatoppano.com. Retrieved 2 December 2010.
- "An Audience with Peta Toppano ", LiveBrum: Event Listings for the City of Birmingham, UK. Retrieved 2 December 2010.