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Character Profiles > Stephen Gottlieb Lochie Daddo

Stephen (né Freedom) Gottlieb 1992-1993
Lived: 30 Ramsay Street
Parents: Dave Gottlieb and Sally Dawes
Marital Status: Phoebe Bright (1993-)
Siblings: Mark and Serendipity
Family Tree: Gottlieb
Occupation: Coffee Shop Assistant

Gentle and down to earth, Stephen Gottlieb was born the eldest son of hippy parents, Dave Gottlieb and Sally Dawes. Stephen was actually christened Freedom by his parents, and was brought up with his brother Cosmic - who later changed his name to Mark - and Serendipity on a hippy commune. While Serendipity followed their parents' ideals and way of live, Stephen and Mark resented Dave and Sally for their alternative way of living. So when Stephen grew up, he was determined to settle down and enjoy a normal, regular life.

He became engaged to his long-time girlfriend, Libby, after becoming manager of a record store in Elliott Park. But tragedy struck the couple one night when they were at a party, and Mark spiked Stephen's drink, leaving him unable to drive Libby home as planned. Mark offered to take Libby home instead, but he also became too drunk, forcing Libby to take a taxi, which crashed, and she was killed instantly. A devastated Stephen held Mark responsible for his fiancee's death, and vowed never to speak to him again. It wasn't until Mark left for France that Stephen finally felt ready to get on with his life.

While visiting Libby's grave one day, Stephen met Phoebe Bright, a young pregnant girl who was visiting the grave of her recently deceased boyfriend, Todd Landers. The two got chatting and discovered they had much in common. They became friends, and started spending a lot of time together. Stephen soon realised that he was in love with Phoebe but she was still mourning the death of Todd and was reluctant to get involved with anyone else. After a swift courtship, Phoebe realised how lucky she was to have had Stephen enter her life, and when he proposed to her at a Gothic-themed 18th birthday party he had organised for her, Phoebe accepted.

The couple planned to marry before the baby arrived, but their plans went awry when Phoebe went into labour on the eve of the wedding. Stephen ended up delivering the baby - a little girl - in Phoebe's living room and after she pulled through an initial period of danger, the child was named Hope Landers-Gottlieb. At first Stephen resented the Landers name being added to the surname, fearing the ghost of Todd would always cloud his parenting of Hope. But Phoebe got Helen Daniels, Todd's surrogate gran, to talk to Stephen and assure him that Todd would be more than happy with Phoebe's choice of husband and father for Hope. Stephen and Phoebe finally married a few weeks after Hope's birth, and were thrilled when Pam Willis arrived at the service with Hope, after it was initially felt the baby wouldn't be out of hospital in time. The wedding also saw Stephen's parents descend upon Ramsay Street, and entertain the guests at the reception with their pub band music.

When Phoebe's guardian, Dorothy Burke, left Erinsborough she left No. 30 in the hands of Stephen and Phoebe, and they were thrilled to have the place to themselves. But their domestic bliss was threatened when Stephen lost his job at the record store, having refused to take bribes from record companies to falsify record sales. Luckily, Stephen became manager of Cathy Alessi's coffee shop, the Hungry Bite, and ran it as a family business with Phoebe, with both taking turns staying at home with Hope.

However, financial problems arose for Stephen and Phoebe and they were forced to take in a lodger. They advertised their spare room on the Coffee Shop's notice board. Russell Butler saw the advertisement, and took it down straight away so as to ensure nobody else would get to apply for the room. Russell had recently been released from a rehabilitation clinic, and was seeking replacements for his wife and baby, who had left him due to his drug use. Stephen and Phoebe were obviously unaware of this when they agreed to rent the room to Russell, but soon came to regret their decision when he subjected the newlyweds to a hellish few months. They initially thought Russell was simply a bit odd - he would spend hours in his bedroom, and refused to let Phoebe or Stephen enter his room. But his behaviour soon began to worry them, especially after he started to tell Stephen one thing, and Phoebe another. Russell even tried to kiss Phoebe one afternoon, and when Stephen found out he decided Russell would have to go. But evicting Russell proved problematic for the Gottliebs, and he vowed to stay on until his lease expired. Events came to a head when Russell told Stephen that Phoebe was in love with him, and Stephen lost his temper and hit him. Russell then had Stephen charged with assault, and avoided being evicted from No. 30 by paying up the rent he owed at the last minute.

With things at No. 30 becoming so heated and downright dangerous, Stephen sent Phoebe and Hope to stay with Dorothy in the country for a few days, and he began trying to find a way to rid he house of Russell once and for all. Against Stephen's better judgement, he took Lou Carpenter up on an offer of having some heavies he knew 'persuade' Russell to leave. But the heavies mistook Wayne Duncan from No. 26 for Russell, and the wrong person was beaten up. Stephen felt awful at what had happened, especially since Wayne was a mate. But Wayne forgave Stephen after he confessed his involvement in the beating, and Stephen was hugely relieved when, upon hearing of the beating, Russell became aware of how unwelcome he was on Ramsay Street and fled. Stephen and Phoebe were much luckier with their replacement lodger, Beth Brennan, because she was friend of the couple's and could be trusted and relied upon.

When Stephen announced his plans to leave Phoebe running the Hungry Bite full-time so that he could take care of Hope and take a part-time course, Phoebe was quite apprehensive about the idea. After a heated argument about the idea one evening, Stephen stormed off to the Waterhole. But tragedy struck when, shortly after Stephen had arrived at the pub, a gas leak caused it to explode and Stephen was trapped in the rubble. He was the first to be found amidst the ruins, and was rushed to hospital, where he lay in a coma for several days, suffering from swelling to the brain. Phoebe, having kept a bedside vigil since the explosion, was thrilled when Stephen finally woke up. But her relief was short lived after Stephen appeared to have no recollection of who she was, and had evidently lost his memory. A further setback occurred when he needed emergency surgery to remove a blood clot from his brain. Luckily, Stephen regained his full memory after the operation, and the first person he asked after when he woke up was Hope.

Tragically, the accident had left Stephen paralysed, and he was devastated. Not wanting to burden Phoebe with caring for a paraplegic, Stephen made arrangements to move to a rehab centre after his release from hospital, and Phoebe was heartbroken when he rejected her support and told her he didn't love her. Wayne desperately tried to intervene and convince Stephen that Phoebe certainly didn't see him as a burden, but Stephen was determined to leave for the rehab centre. However, he had a last minute change of heart and agreed to move back to No. 30 - and apologised to Phoebe for pushing her away.

Adjusting to life in a wheelchair proved intensely difficult and frustrating for Stephen, and he constantly rejected people's help with things, such was his fierce determination to fend for himself. Some good news arrived for the couple when Lassiter's offered them an out-of-court settlement of $67,000 as compensation for the accident. But Stephen's joy was cut short when brother Mark showed up unexpectedly in Erinsborough. Stephen resisted Mark's attempts at reconciling with him, and after a blazing row in which Stephen told his brother he'd never forgive him for Libby's death, Mark left and Stephen was later found lying on the living room floor by Phoebe having suffered a relapse.

A couple of weeks in hospital followed, during which time Phoebe tried desperately to keep Mark away from Stephen. But Mark was determined to patch things up with his brother, and made it clear he wasn't going anywhere, especially since he had landed the job as Head Chef at Lassiter's. Eventually, Stephen and Mark came to an understanding after an afternoon spent reminiscing about their wacky parents and unconventional upbringing on the commune, and they agreed to put the past behind them. Stephen received a huge boost to his confidence one day at the park when he caught a frisbee with his bad hand, and this drove him to commit to a rigorous rehabilitation regime in the hope of walking again.

Stephen and Phoebe were delighted when the cheque from Lassiter's came through and they considered leasing the old florists shop in Lassiter's Arcade to set up their own record store. But when a more suitable premises became available in Anson's Corner, and at a more attractive price, the couple decided to move there instead. On the eve of their departure, Stephen surprised Phoebe at the party to mark Helen Daniels' birthday and the re-opening of the Waterhole by getting out of his wheelchair and walking unaided. It transpired that he and Wayne had been working towards Stephen taking his first steps in recent weeks, after Stephen had started to regain feeling in his legs. With their dramatic few months behind them at last, Stephen, Phoebe and Hope left Ramsay Street behind for a fresh start running their new record bar in Anson's Corner, which proved to be a huge success for them.


Biography by Moe