April Rose Pengilly may be most known for her role as Chloe Brennan in Neighbours, but she is not the only famous person in her family; her father is a rock music superstar.
April’s father, Kirk Pengilly, was a multi-million selling rock band INXS, whose songs included I Need You Tonight, New Sensation, and Never Tear Us Apart, years before she joined Ramsay Street as Chloe Brennan in 2018.
His daughter has since followed in his footsteps, pursuing a career in the spotlight as a model and as Chloe in Neighbours.
April has also been a part of major storylines on the popular Australian soap, including her on-again, off-again affair with fellow Ramsay Street resident Kiri.
While fans wait to see what happens next between Chloe and Kiri, the Daily Star looks back at her famous father Kirk Pengilly’s life.
The Legend of INXS
Kirk Pengilly was destined for fame in music from an early age, having formed his first band with fellow schoolmate Tim Farriss when he was 13 years old.
They founded Guinness in 1971, and the band had minor success in Sydney bars before disbanding in 1976.
Kirk, on the other hand, was soon to join what would become one of the world’s most famous bands, The Farriss Brothers, which was formed in 1977 by Jon, Andrew, and Tim Farriss.
INXS was formed in 1979 when Michael Hutchence, Kirk Pengilly, and Gary Beers joined the band, and legends were born.
INXS rose to international acclaim with multi-million-selling albums such as Kick, Listen Like Thieves, and X, and were inducted into the Australian Recording Industry Association Hall Of Fame in 2001.
During this time, however, the band experienced a tragic loss with the death of singer Michael Hutchence, who died at the age of 37, shocking the globe.
Tim Farriss, a band member, told MTV at the time of Michael’s death that the band would honour what Michael would have wanted for the band’s future, saying, “We know better perhaps than anyone with Michael’s career what he would have wanted us to have done and we’re going to try and do the right thing by him whatever we do.”
The band continued to tour and release songs, as well as appearing in the reality show Rockstar: INXS, which was devoted to finding a new singer for the band.
In 2019, Mystify, a documentary on Michael Hutchence, was produced, which included archive and interview clips from the band.
INXS singer Michael Hutchence was discovered dead in his hotel room in Double Bay, Sydney, on November 22, 1997.
Fans and celebrities from the entertainment world have continued to pay respect to the music great decades after his untimely death, including on a page set up on what would have been the singer’s 58th birthday.
Fans, friends, and family from all over the world paid respect to the celebrity, including former girlfriend and model Helena Christensen, as well as lovely messages given by fans, friends, and family from all over the world.
“It was a sad circumstance, considering a future without Michael Hutchence,” his stepmother Susi wrote on the blog, describing the grief of losing Michael and the lasting imprint his talent left on the world.
“There will be no more cheerful greetings, spontaneous phone calls, impish grins, philosophical debates, inventive tunes, or impassioned performances.”
“Everything Michael had ever accomplished, spoken or written, the love he gave to others, the attentive ear, the hug, the kisses, were now his legacy, which would live on in hearts as priceless memories.”
Kirk Pengilly offered a touching tribute to his old band mate Michael Jackson in an interview with Today Extra on the 20th anniversary of his death, saying: “What I remember are the amazing times we had – Michael and us.” He was a wonderful person and a wonderful man. Not only is he a fantastic performer, but he is also a fantastic friend. “He’s a brother.”
Battles with health
Kirk has battled a variety of health issues in his personal life, including treatment for severe prostate cancer in 2015.
After more tests confirmed that the disease had been confined, Kirk told the Daily Telegraph Australia, “It will probably take 12 to 18 months for everything to be completely normal again.”
After being diagnosed with glaucoma at the age of 29 in 1987, he has also become an ambassador for Glaucoma Australia.
Kirk opened out about his glaucoma diagnosis on The Morning Show, saying, “I would have gone blind, I was within a millimetre of going blind as it turned out, unbeknownst to me until I was identified and underwent a particular operation that fit my glaucoma.”
“I would have gone completely blind, and who knows how my life would have turned out if that had happened, and it’s just a reminder of how valuable sight is.”
Marriages and famous daughter
On April 12, 1988, Kirk Pengilly welcomed daughter and Neighbours star April Rose into the world with previous lover and fashion designer Karen Hutchinson.
April claimed that after seeing the mini-series Never Tear Us Apart: The Untold Story of INXS, she was startled by the excess that her father experienced as part of his rock star life in INXS.
“It was OK and the actors did a terrific job,” she told the Daily Mail after seeing an advance copy of the film.
“My mother and I, as well as my father, received an advance copy, which was beneficial because we were able to know what was going to be out there before anyone else… and prepare for it.”
“I still haven’t read Anthony Bozza’s book INXS: Story To Story about them, which they’ve just re-released,” she continued, “because I don’t really want to know what else they got up to.”
April began her career as a model in commercials for fashion magazines such as Elle, Harpers Bazaar, and Marie Claire, and has since captivated audiences on Australian soap Neighbours.
After eleven years together, Kirk and April’s mother Karen divorced, and in 1993, Kirk married singer Deni Hines.
Kirk later married top pro surfer Layne Beachley in 2010, after they were together for nearly two years before separating in 1995.
In an Instagram post for Kirk’s birthday in 2021, Layne offered a touching tribute to him, just as INXS’ Greatest Hits CD was also awarded diamond ARIA status.
“Happy Birthday to my rock, my love of my life, my darling loving hubby,” Layne captioned a shot of the two cuddling up together in the sunshine.
“And congrats to @officialinxs for winning a Diamond Aria Award for selling 500,000 copies of the Very Best Of INXS Album in Australia (6 weeks shy of being in the top 100 for the first time in 9 years!).”