Peta Toppano
Peita Margaret Toppano

1951 (age 70–71)
Finsbury Park, London, England
Other namesPieta Toppano
  • Actress
  • singer
  • dancer
(m. 1979; div. 1989)
(m. 1992; div. 1995)

Peita Margaret Toppano (born 1951)[1][2] stage name Peta Toppano is an English-born Australian of stage and screen actress, singer and dancer, who 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 as Jilly Stewart

Toppano was married to her Prisoner co-star Barry Quin and subsequently to TV executive and business mogul Kerry Stokes

Early life

Toppano was born in Finsbury Park, London, England 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 and is of Italian descent.[2] 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.


Television and film

Toppano's television credits include "Lena" in Piccolo Mondo for SBS, in Prisoner, as original character Karen Travers (a role created for her by producer/writer Reg Watson); in All the Rivers Run, as Eunice Pyke; and in Fields of Fire, as Gina Agostini. Other appearances include Heartbreak High as Stella on Network Ten and in Bordertown for ABC Television as Diomira.

She also appeared in A Country Practice, G.P., E Street and Flying Doctors. She played Kate in the ABC miniseries The Paper Man with Oliver Tobias, John Bach and Rebecca Gilling (her co-star from Return To Eden), and starred with John Waters and Cybill Shepherd in the 1991 miniseries Which Way Home. Toppano played a recast Jilly Stewart in Return to Eden and starred in Home and Away as Helen Poulas.[3][4]

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 with Vince Colosimo. Other nominations include The Sydney Theatre Critic's Award for her performance in 'Danny and the Deep Blue Sea'. Toppano received two Logie nominations for her work in 'Fields of Fire' as Gina Agostini, and Uke in' Water Under the Bridge'.

Stage (drama and musicals)

Toppano she played Juanita in Sue Woolf's multi-award-winning novel Leaning Towards Infinity in 1997, adapted for stage at the Ensemble theatre to great acclaim.

While living in Perth, Toppano played "Coral" and later "Gwen" in Michael Gow's Away, "Ruth" in Louis Nowra's Così for the Black Swan Theatre Company and Blood Moon for Theatre West.

She starred in a one-woman play written by Heather Nimmo, directed by Leith Taylor called "One Small Step" for which she received great critical acclaim. Toppano played "Countess De Lage" in "The Women" by Clare Boothe Luce with students from Theatre Nepean directed by Mary-Ann Gifford.

She played "Beth" in Merrily We Roll Along for the Sydney Theatre Company with Gina Riley, Greg Stone, Geniveve Lemon, Tom Burlinson and Tony Sheldon.

Toppano played "Fantine" in Les Misérables for the Cameron Mackintosh organisation in Melbourne, Perth and Brisbane, "Diana Morales" in A Chorus Line for two years in Sydney and Melbourne. She played "Sonia" in They're Playing Our Song in the UK, and celebrated her 21st birthday in Godspell.

She played "Claudia" in the musical Nine, Eliza Doolittle (with Stuart Wagstaff) in My Fair Lady, "Monica" in I Love My Wife, "Roberta" in Danny and the Deep Blue Sea and "Leonarda" in Love and Magic in Mama's Kitchen at the Belvoir St Theatre directed by Teresa Crea in Toppano's most exciting role so far.

Toppano speaks French and Italian.



Year Program Character Network, producer
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 Alvin Purple Angelica ABC Television
1976 King's Men Policewoman Grundy Television Productions
1976 The Outsiders Sally Gower ABC Television
1976–77 The Young Doctors Dr. Gail Henderson Grundy Television Productions
1977-78 Blankety Blanks Herself - Panelist Grundy Television Productions
1978–79 Prisoner Karen Travers Grundy Television Productions
1979 The Franky Doyle Story Karen Travers Grundy Organization
1979 Skyways Sister Theresa Crawford Productions
1980 Celebrity Tattletales Herself - Panelist Grundy Organization
1980 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 Holiday Island Meredith Crawford Productions
1982 Parkinson Tribute to Cy Coleman Channel 10
1982 The Don Lane Show Herself Channel 9
1983 Carson's Law Judith Taylor Crawford Productions
1985 Return to Eden Jilly Stewart McElroy & McElroy
1986 Television: The First 30 Years Herself Channel 9
1987 Have A Go Herself Channel 7
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 Rafferty's Rules unknown role Channel 7
1988 The Midday Show Herself Channel 9
1989 E Street Miki Fallon Westside Film & Television
1989 G.P. Anna Carelli ABC TV (10-episodes)
1989 All the Rivers Run II Eunice Pike Crawford Productions (directed by John Power)
1990 The Paper Man Kate Cromwell ABC, Granada
1990 Harbour Beat Mrs. De Santos Palm Beach Pictures, Zenith Entertainment
1991 Which Way Home Annie (with Cybill Shepherd) McElroy, Turner TV
1991 A Country Practice Colleen Nicholls (four episodes) JNP Films
1991 Six Pack: Piccolo Mondo Lena Generation Films
1991 In Sydney Today Herself Channel 9
1991 Tonight Live With Steve Vizard Herself Channel 7
1994 The Feds: Seduction (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)
1996 Midday Herself Channel 9
1996 This Is Your Life? Herself Channel 9
1996 Monday To Friday Herself Channel 10
1997 Good Morning Australia Herself Channel 10
1998 Never Tell Me Never (telefilm) M.C. Golden Square Pictures, Palm Beach Pictures (directed by David Elfick)
1999 Laws Herself Foxtel FX Channel
2000 Above the Law Mrs. Giovanelli Columbia TriStar Television, McElroy Television
2000–09 Home and Away Helen Poulos Seven Network
2002 3–4 Ever Fandango, Vertigo Productions
2002 The Best Of Aussie Dramas Herself Channel Seven
2002 The Best Of Aussie Cop Shows Herself Channel Seven
2006 Where Are They Now? Herself Channel Seven
2009 9am Herself Channel Ten
2015 Studio 10 Herself Channel Ten


Year Film Character Director Producer
1984 Street Hero Michael Pattinson Paul Dainty
1986 Echoes of Paradise Judy Phillip Noyce Great Scott Productions
1992 Seeing Red Vivian Goosey
2008 Footsteps In The Night (Short film) Mother


1968 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Snow White Tibor Rudas - J.C.Williamson Theatres Ltd
1972 Godspell Ken Brodziak Productions
1976 A Very Good Year unknown role
1976 Spats Back In Business at the Speakeasy Dinner theater
1976 In The Family Way unknown role
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
1985 You, The Night And The Housewine unknown role
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;1991 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
1992 Away Coral;Gwen
1992;1994 One Small Step unknown role
1993 The Girl's Gotta Eat unknown role
1994 One Small Step unknown role
1995 Cosi Ruth
1995 Blue Moon unknown role
1996 Merrily We Roll Along Beth Sydney Theatre Company
1996 Elegance unknown role
1997 The Women Countess De Lage
1999 Leaning Towards Infinity unknown role


  1. ^ GRO Birth Index England
  2. ^ a b Lawson, Valerie. "Peggy sang her own sweet tune", Sydney 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."
  3. ^ 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."
  4. ^ "Peta Toppano: Biography Archived 10 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine", Retrieved 2 December 2010.