Vale – Wendy Hughes

Cinematographers lost one of their favourites when the beautiful Wendy Hughes died in Sydney recently aged 61.

She will be remembered by all those who came into contact with her as one of the finest actors of her generation.

Hughes won the AFI award for best actress for Careful, He Might Hear You in 1983 and was nominated on six other occasions, for Newsfront, My Brilliant Career, Lonely Hearts, My First Wife, Echoes of Paradise and Boundaries of the Heart.

She trained as a ballerina before graduating from NIDA in 1970. Her first professional gig was in 1971 in Butterflies are Free, a play staged by Harry M. Miller, with Miriam Karlin and Sean Scully.

In 1972 she joined the Melbourne Theatre Company and did two years of rep, working with Googie Withers in The Cherry Orchard and An Ideal Husband.

In her film debut she played a professor alongside Jack Thompson and Jacki Weaver in Tim Burstall’s 1974 drama Petersen, which, she later recalled, involved spending a “lot a lot of the time naked and doing sex scenes, because in the ’70s you all had to do that.”

Among her other film credits were The Man Who Sued God, Paradise Road, Warm Nights on a Slow Moving Train and Hoodwink.

Her numerous TV roles included Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, State Coroner, MDA, City Homicide, All Saints, Return to Eden and Power Without Glory. In her final role she played Mrs Higgins in the Sydney Theatre Company’s production of Pygmalion in 2012.

In 2007 she told ABC interviewer Peter Thompson, “There’s certainly been down times, but on the whole I think I’ve been really fortunate. A lot of it has to do with when I first started out in the ’70s it was, sort of, the renaissance of the Australian film industry, and a lot of films were being done, a lot of television, and there wasn’t that much competition.”

The ACS and all of our members who experienced the absolute joy of working with Wendy will miss her, and we pass our deepest condolences onto her children, daughter Charlotte and son, Jay.

Ron Johanson OAM ACS

National President