23 July 1946
|Years active||early 1960s – 2002|
|Spouse(s)||Mark Hashfield; Adrian Wright|
Abigail Rogan (known mononymously as Abigail; born 23 July 1946) is an English-born retired actress particularly of television soap operas and film and was also briefly a vocalist.
She emigrated from London in 1968 and became one of Australia's significant sex symbols of the early-1970s, promoted as a sultry blonde siren in the vein of Marilyn Monroe and Brigitte Bardot.
Abigail was educated in France, and started her career in her native United Kingdom, appearing in such roles as Robin Hood and Continental Theatre, she arrived in Australia to study civil engineering whilst acting part time, but made a major foray in showbiz when she was given the chance to appear as the female lead in a local theatre production of the British comedy There's a Girl in My Soup. She settled in Sydney and appeared in an advert with Phil Silvers and the TV series Delta.
She is best known for her roles in several prominent Australian TV soap operas, where she became known simply as Abigail. She first became best as a sex symbol in Number 96, as an original cast member and the first actress to play artists model Bev Houghton with her character providing fleeting nude glimpses. She became Australia's undisputed sex symbol of the early 1970s through the role. However, although most people assume she was the first woman on local TV to go topless, in fact it was her co-star of the naive Rose Godulfus (Vivienne Garrett). To the surprise of her fans she was written out of the series after a dispute, although it was stated at the time she had left to appear in a movie in mid 1973, and the character was re-cast with Victoria Raymond assuming the role. She did however return to the soap in 1976 as the character of Eve.
She appeared in the sex-comedy film Alvin Purple and Alvin Rides Again
She had a role in The Young Doctors, as cold and assertive Hilary Templeton. Around the same time, she appeared in Glenview High, another Grundy TV series.
In 1985, she became well known for her in the successful series, Sons and Daughters, as conniving Caroline "The Cat" Morrell opposite Normie Rowe, the series sold well internationally, especially in Belgium.
She subsequently appeared in numerous other soap opera roles, including Neighbours in 1989, and Family and Friends, in a regular role during 1990 until that series was cancelled. She then appeared in Chances as Bambi Shute, the host of a TV sex show, for most of 1992.
Abigail was twice married; first to her manager actor Mark Hashfield (who also appeared on Number 96 as Alan Cotterill) and then to actor Adrian Wright.
In 1973, after leaving Number 96, she published her autobiography, Call Me Abigail which sold 150,000 copies in its first two weeks of sale. Also in 1973, Abigail made an attempt, one of the first soap stars to do so prior to Kylie Minogue) at a popular music career and scored a hit with a cover of Serge Gainsbourg's "Je t'aime... moi non plus", which reached the top 10 in Australia. Although this debut was a success, follow-ups, including a comedic release with ventriloquist Chris Kirby, were not.
During this period she appeared in a series of brief cameo roles in a string of sex comedy films such as Alvin Purple (1973), and its 1974 sequel Alvin Rides Again. In 1974, Abigail would perform a striptease in the burlesque comedy "The Legend of San Peel" in The Barrel Theatre, a well-known strip palace in Kings Cross, while struggling to find serious acting jobs. In 1975, in a brief return to television she appeared in Class of '75 for three weeks as a prim French Senior Mistress in a black wig and frumpy spectacles. Also in 1975 she played Esmerelda in The True Story of Eskimo Nell and in 1976 appeared in another bawdy comedy Eliza Fraser.
Abigail returned to Number 96 in November 1976. Her new comedy character, the oft-divorced Eve, would potentially appear in a spinoff series, Fair Game, with Elaine Lee and Lynette Curran. It did not eventuate, although the completed pilot was divided up to create segments of three episodes of Number 96 (Episodes 1079-1081).
Abigail also appeared in a recurring sketch in comedy series The Norman Gunston Show called "The Checkout Chicks". This sketch, a send-up of melodramatic soap operas set in a supermarket, mostly featured other former Number 96 actors - Vivienne Garrett, Candy Raymond, Philippa Baker, Judy Lynne and Anne Louise Lambert. The show was finally cancelled in July 1977.
In 1977, Abigail appeared in the hospital-based series The Young Doctors as super-efficient secretary Hilary Templeton who worked for Philip Winter (Noel Trevarthen), a celebrity patient of the hospital. In the show, Winter is murdered and she leaves the storyline, only to later return with her character now running the company of her former boss. Also in 1977 she had a cameo role in the film Summer City, which is notable for being the first to have Mel Gibson in a major role.
Abigail had some success in the theatre, specialising in comedy roles. She toured New South Wales and Queensland with the stage farce A Bedfull of Foreigners in 1983. In 1984 she appeared in Melvin, Son of Alvin. In 1985, Abigail scored a regular role in another soap opera Sons and Daughters, playing the role of Caroline Morrell, alongside former pop singer Normie Rowe, a role she continued until the series ended in 1987. In 1988, she appeared in Breaking Loose. In 1989 she co-starred in Elly & Jools playing the crazy Country & Western singer wannabe, Dulcie Dickson. In 1990 she appeared in Sher Mountain Killings Mystery and was a regular cast member of the short-lived soap opera Family and Friends and in 1991 appeared in another soap Chances. In 1994 she presented a prime-time repeat of the 1977 Number 96 retrospective, And They Said It Couldn't Last.
Her last television appearance was in 2002, when she briefly became a spokesperson for weight-loss company Jenny Craig. She claimed to have lost 17 kilograms in seven weeks.
Abigail was interviewed on Sydney radio station 2GB on her 60th birthday in 2006. At that time she was living on the Gold Coast, Queensland.
In March 2011, Australian current affairs program Today Tonight produced a story on Abigail, claiming that she had fallen on hard times, and claiming she was living as a squatter in a derelict church. A rebuttal story was aired the following evening by rival current affairs program, A Current Affair. In fact she had been living there with permission, with her husband, as her home had been partially destroyed by floods. Her damaged home was being prepared for rebuilding. The Today Tonight story captured some hidden camera footage of Abigail. She did not appear on camera consensually.
The track "Please Terry Do It One More Time", is the one that features Chris Kirby.