Rebecca Gibney’s big brother Patrick gets a chance to shine in this week’s episode of edgy new drama Wanted. But it’s a miracle her sibling is even alive – let alone acting – after he survived two brain tumours, one of them when his wife Annie was pregnant with their first child. Brisbane-based Patrick, who nabbed a small role as a building manager, has always loved acting. However, until now, he’s hesitated to follow in his sister’s footsteps after the life-saving surgery. ‘I’d always encouraged him, because he’s an awesome performer,’ explains star and Wanted producer Rebecca, 51.
‘And funnily enough, I had nothing to do with his casting! ‘The director saw a photo of Patrick, thought he had a great face and asked him to audition. He came in two or three times to try out before he got the part. ‘Patrick never felt confident he could do it. He thought it was too late in life, but I told him: “It’s never too late, my friend!”
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And he was awesome!’ Unfortunately, Rebecca isn’t in the scene with her sibling. She simply watched from the sidelines as he filmed alongside former Home And Away star Steve Peacocke, 34, who is fast becoming a Hollywood celeb. ‘The wonderful thing is, for someone with no TV experience, Patrick was very comfortable on set and everybody loved him,’ smiles former Packed To The Rafters favourite Rebecca. ‘Patrick is one of the most life-affirming people on the planet. He’s lovely to be around because he’s so positive and energetic, which is amazing because he was told he could die – not once, but twice.
‘Even when he was in a wheelchair three days after his first operation [to remove a tumour], he was racing up and down the hospital corridor. He has enormous faith and had a prayer chain extending all the way to New Zealand! ‘The second time around, eight years later, the tumour returned and was double its original size. Doctors warned him he might not survive the 13-hour surgery, and even if he did, there was a risk he might not be able to walk or talk again. ‘He came through all that, then got very, very sick and contracted viral meningitis,’ adds Rebecca, who later asked Patrick to lead the celebrations at her wedding to production designer Richard Bell. ‘It was an awful, awful time. I remember going to see Patrick in hospital and he told me: “I feel as if I’ve been run over by a bus three times, but I will get up again.” And he did.’ Now Rebecca hopes Patrick will get more acting work in the wake of his part in Wanted. ‘We’re hoping to find him an agent now. It would be awesome to see him do more. That’s the plan!’
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