Actor Anne Phelan, who has passed away aged 71.
Actor Anne Phelan, who has passed away aged 71.

Prisoner star Anne Phelan dies

Tributes are flowing in for Australian TV actor Anne Phelan, who has died age 75 of a sudden illness.

Phelan was best known for playing Myra Desmond in the 80s soap hit show Prisoner.

She worked in the entertainment industry for almost 50 years, with roles in popular TV shows including Blue Heelers, Neighbours, Winners & Losers and Bellbird.

Three of the meanest top dogs from TV show 'Prisoner': Anne Phelan, Glenda Linscott and Val Lehman.
Three of the meanest top dogs from TV show 'Prisoner': Anne Phelan, Glenda Linscott and Val Lehman.

She recently worked on Rachel Griffiths new film Ride Like A Girl, which is based on female jockey Michelle Payne's career.

Phelan's manager from BGM talent agency, Marea Jablonski issued a statement today, say the actor's health only took a "sudden turn for the worst" recently.

 

Anne Phelan, with 'Prisoner' memorabilia in 1999.
Anne Phelan, with 'Prisoner' memorabilia in 1999.

 

"She just loved working," she said, after representing her for nearly 50 years in show business.

"It was only recently that her health took a very sudden turn for the worst.

"She had an incredible ability to create very true characters - you just believed she was that person. There was no trickery to her work, it was just true and beautiful, and she created a whole lot of archetypical Aussie characters."

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Australian actor Anne Phelan who has died.
Australian actor Anne Phelan who has died.

 

MEAA Equity federal president Chloe Dallimore said in a statement today: "Anne was simply one of the best humans.

"She was a lauded actor for her incredible body of work in our industry, but most importantly, a woman with a huge zest for life and a deep love for her union."

Phelan won an AFI Award for Best actor in a Leading Role in a Television Drama for her work on ABC miniseries, Something in the Air in 2000.

 

Julie Nihill who plays Chris faces an angry Jeannie played by Anne Phelan in the TV series, Blue Heelere in 1996.
Julie Nihill who plays Chris faces an angry Jeannie played by Anne Phelan in the TV series, Blue Heelere in 1996.

 

She also had roles in shows including Ryan, Homicide, Division 4 and Matlock Police.

Her other TV roles included The Harp in the South, The Fast Lane, Mother & Son, GP, Inside Running, Skirts, Col'n Carpenter, Snowy River: The McGregor Saga, Law of the Land, Good Guys Bad Guys, Simone de Beauvoir's Babies, The Micallef Program, Thunderstone, Marshall Law, Dogwoman, Marshall Law and The Librarians.

She also worked on films including The Craic in 1999 and Charlie & Boots in 2009, where she played a female truck driver in both productions

Phelan also worked on stage and starred in more than 50 plays.

Peter Carroll with John Gaden, Anne Phelan and Geoff Revell in scene from theatre stage play
Peter Carroll with John Gaden, Anne Phelan and Geoff Revell in scene from theatre stage play "A Hard God".

Aside from acting, Phelan will be remembered for her work in activism as she was a strong supporter of Patron of Positive Women Victoria - a group that supports women living with HIV/AIDS.

In 2007, she received a Medal of the Order of Australia for her "service to the arts as an actor, and to the community, particularly through support for women living with the HIV virus and for asylum seekers and refugees".

In December 2016, she received the Equity Foundation's Lifetime Achievement Award.