“Maurie & Val took me under their wing”


Gold Logie winner Rebecca Gibney was just 22 years old when she worked on The Flying Doctors for Crawford Productions.

Wedged in between Come In Spinner and All Together Now, it remains a classic Aussie drama and one that proved pivotal to the Wanted star.

She was given a piece of advice that has served her well across a career spanning nearly 40 years.

“I used to ask Maurie Fields, ‘How do I get better? I’m not a trained actor, I didn’t go to Drama School? I’m making it up as I go along and it really freaks me out.’ He said ‘You treat people the way you have them treat you. Know your lines and show up on time. And you’ll go far young lady.’

“It stuck with me!” she recently told TV Tonight.

“He and Val took me under their wing. I was 22 and I would watch them every day, and Andrew MacFarlane, Liz Burch –still very good friends of mine.

“I needed to not be a diva. I’ve also watched people come along who behave appallingly. But 5 years down the track where are they? The industry is too small. We’re not America.”

Val Jellay, mother of performer Marty Fields, passed away in May at the age of 89. Together with the late, great Maurie Fields, the two shared an enduring partnership on stage, screen and in life for over 40 years.

The advice served Gibney well. She is now an executive producer on her own projects, with Wanted co-produced with R&R Productions and Matchbox Pictures. Giving profile roles to younger stars, such as Geraldine Hakewill, allows her to pass on what Fields instilled.

“I’ve never tried to pretend I’m the best actor. I’m not,” she concedes.  “I’m a good actor. Sometimes I can do really good work. Sometimes I can do really shit work. But I’m generally a good person to work with, and I try with a passion to be very much ‘in the moment’ with whomever I am with.

“We’re always clawing for the next job, the next moment, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve realised it’s about recognising ‘this moment.’

“This may be my last one, so how do I choose to live it?”

Wanted airs 8:40pm Monday on Seven.

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