Penny McNamee: Theatre And Film Star
Penny plays Tori on Home and Away, an Australian TV series about the residents of Summer Bay. The show began on January 1988 and continues to air from Monday to Thursday on Seven Network. McNamee has also starred in Careless Love (2012), Salem’s Lot (2004) Blue Bloods (2013), See No Evil (2006) and The Pacific (2010).
McNamee received nominations for the Logie Award for Best New Talent and Inside Soap Award for Best Daytime Star for her role in Home and Away. Additionally, she won the 2009 Green Room Award for playing Nessarose in Wicked.
Before she landed her major roles, Penny described her acting career as “hard,” but chose to continue on the path. Following Penny’s footsteps, her younger sister Jessica McNamee also pursued acting. Jessica appeared on Packed To The Rafters and Home and Away on several occasions.
Tori From Home and Away: The Fun Doctor With A Secret History
Being chosen for a lead role in Home and Away was a turning point in McNamee’s career. Her character, Tori Morgan, has been on screen for three years and shows no signs of being written off anytime soon.
Tori first appeared in May 2016, along with her three brothers Brody (Jackson Heywood), Justin (James Stewart) and Mason (Orpheus Pledger). She was introduced as a funny, attractive medical doctor who goes to a local hospital for a fundraiser.
Later, it’s revealed that Tori and her brothers moved to Summer Bay as part of a witness protection program.
Love Goes Wrong For Tori
Tori Morgan’s storyline initially focused on her relationships with Nate Cooper (Kyle Pryor), Duncan Stewart (Benedict Wall) and Riley Hawkins (Ryan O’Kane). Early on, she’s often paired with Nate, though problems arise from Nate’s failed marriage and other relationships. Tori also develops a connection with Duncan Stewart, further complicating matters.
Nate and Tori later become a couple after sharing a passionate moment in the hospital elevator. But the relationship didn’t last – after details about Tori’s violent past is published in a local newspaper, Nate loses trust in her and the couple falls apart.
Following the revelation, Tori gets back together with Riley Hawkins, a former flame. But the relationship has a series of unique problems: Riley’s caught flirting with another girl, and also accuses Nate of medical negligence. Tori finds issues with Riley’s claims, and Nate is later cleared of the charges. Riley assumes Tori still has feelings for Nate, causing her to break up with him.
After actor Kyle Pryor decides to leave the show, Tori bonds with Martin Ashford, whose young niece, Luc Patterson, gets hospitalised. The relationship does not end well, with Ashford leaving Tori to take care of Luc.
Fertility Treatment For Tori From Home And Away
Following her string of unsuccessful relationships, Tori starts going through fertility treatment and gets pregnant after she receives a sperm donation from Robbo Shaw (Jack Ryan), an ex-undercover cop with a mysterious past. She later has a miscarriage but vows to try again. Without Robbo’s approval, Tori secretly has another embryo implanted and successfully gets pregnant.
Although the pregnancy was described as high-risk, she continues carrying the baby to full-term, eventually giving birth to a baby girl in a safehouse. Tori and Robbo later decide to name the girl Grace. However, the celebration was cut short, as Tori collapses to the ground after delivery and falls into a coma.
In the show’s latest episodes, Tori makes an unexpected recovery and reunites with her daughter. She struggles to bond with the baby, as she wasn’t present during the first weeks of the infant’s life.
One Mum, Two Stories
Tori’s Home and Away storyline has parallels with Penny McNamee’s real life since the actress welcomed her second child the same time her character went into labour.
She also revealed to TV Week that she initially planned to quit the show following her six-month maternity leave, but ultimately decided to continue. McNamee shares, “But having a fantastic job – and knowing how hard the producer and the writers worked to keep Tori on screen – played on my mind. I really didn't want to let them down, and I also didn't want to lose the opportunity I'd been given.”
Despite the pressure of balancing her acting career and her responsibilities as a mum, the 1.65-metre tall, 54-kg actress has gotten back in shape and ready to take on the role again. “I feel good now. I don't think your body ever recovers. You can't go back and have your 20-year-old body again, but I'm happy with where I'm at after having two children. I'm just going to own it.”
McNamee’s Daily Life
These days, Penny has quite an unpredictable schedule, given her inconsistent filming schedule and her never-ending responsibilities as a mum. She shares childcare duties with her husband Matt Tooker, whom she wed in 2009.
Speaking to Mamamia about the matter, Penny admits, “Whoever has the later start walks Jack to preschool, which is around the corner from [our house], making it very handy. If we are both working, we have a gorgeous Au Pair who minds Neve. Or if I have the day off, I stay in my PJs and have a lazy morning with lots of baby cuddles.”