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Don Lane's son: I gave up my career for Dad

Monday, June 1, 2009

By Dylan Howard/Crocmedia and Lucy Chesterton

PJ Lane tells why he's turned his back on a bright future to be with his ailing father.


At 24, PJ Lane was preparing to take his place on the world sporting stage, playing top league basketball in the USA and Europe. With his formidable talent and poster-boy good looks, success in the NBA was becoming a tangible reality for the son of legendary entertainer Don Lane.

But at a time many talented young players would be looking towards a future with top pay cheques and possible world fame, PJ has given it all up to move back home to Australia to be close to his famous father as Don fights the unpredictable ravages of dementia.

Contrary to reports, PJ says his dad's health is stable, but admits the family "doesn't know where it could be in a year".

And it's for that reason the loyal son has put family first by choosing to settle in Sydney where he can pay daily visits to his ailing father instead of continuing with his sporting commitments. "For now, Dad is still in good spirits and recognises everyone who comes to visit him," PJ says.

"He is walking and running around and still making jokes. But he has a condition which worsens over time, which will ultimately have an effect."

Illness isn't preventing Don from taking pride in the achievements of his son, who — after years of training in sports — has now revealed for the first time that he's planning to follow in his father's footsteps by forging a career in entertainment.

For the past 12 months, PJ has been quietly making inroads into the performing arts, debuting, without fanfare, as a presenter at last month's glittering TV Week Logies ceremony in Melbourne.

And with showbiz in his genes, PJ could well be the next "Lanky Yank". "For the last few years, Dad has been nudging me in the television direction and he was really happy to see me on the small screen," PJ says.

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