Pat McDonald (actress)

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Pat McDonald
Born Patricia Ethell McDonald
(1921-08-01)1 August 1921
Melbourne, Australia
Died 10 March 1990(1990-03-10) (aged 68)
Occupation Actress
Years active 1939–89
Spouse(s) Peter Hendry
Partner(s) Bunney Brooke

Patricia Ethell "Pat" McDonald (1 August 1921[1] – 10 March 1990) was an Australian radio actress and actress of stage and television and the daughter of one of Australia's most prominent electric radio engineers and public servants, Arthur Stephen McDonald and his wife, milliner Edith Roseina Ethell.[2] Her grandfather, bootmaker John McDonald, was born in Victoria, and married Eliza Mary Stevenson.[3]

McDonald was best-known for two long-running soap opera roles. She played comical malaproping gossip Dorrie Evans in the popular serial Number 96 between 1972 and 1977 for which she won four Logie awards, including the 1974 Gold Logie, and then played Aunty Fiona Thompson in Sons and Daughters between 1981 to 1987. She was featured in both shows throughout their entire run (*about five and a half years in each case).


McDonald acted in the 1939 Australian film Seven Little Australians based on the novel by Ethel Turner as the twenty year-old stepmother Esther. She much later appeared in an episode of the 1971 police drama The Long Arm. The role in Number 96 followed; she reprised the role in the 1974 feature film version of the series. McDonald won several Logie Awards as Best Actress for playing Dorrie, and a Gold Logie for Australia's most popular female personality in 1974. After Number 96 she played a regular role in the short-lived Australian situation comedy series The Tea Ladies (1978).

L to R: Bunney Brooke as Flo, Dina Mann as Debbie, Sheila Kennelly as Norma, Frances Hargreaves as Marilyn, and Pat McDonald as Dorrie in the final episode of Number 96.

One of McDonald's final TV appearances was at the Logie Awards on 17 March 1989, when she took part in a production number called "Golden Girls", which celebrated female Gold Logie winners of years past. She performed the song with Lorrae Desmond, Hazel Phillips, Denise Drysdale, Jeanne Little, and Rowena Wallace.

Later in 1989 McDonald appeared in an episode of the hit British TV series In Sickness and in Health in which she played Raeline's mother. The episode was aired in the UK in October 1989.

Personal life[edit]

McDonald was married in 1941 to Captain Peter Hendry, a son of a reverend and doctor in the Australian Army.[4]

During the 1970s she was involved in a live-in lesbian relationship with Number 96 co-star Bunney Brooke. The two actresses openly appeared in magazine articles about the suburban Sydney home they shared, and they freely discussed their international summer holidays together in press articles, although the true nature of the relationship was not explicitly stated.[5]


McDonald died after a lengthy illness of cancer of the pancreas in North Shore, Sydney, Australia.[6] on 10 March 1990, aged 68. Her partner actress and casting agent Brooke died in 2000.


  1. ^ "Births". The Argus. 3 August 1921. Retrieved 12 March 2012. 
  2. ^ Goot, Murray. "McDonald, Arthur Stephen (1891–1955)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. Retrieved 4 March 2012. 
  3. ^ Goot, Murray. "McDonald, Arthur Stephen (1891–1955)". Retrieved 15 January 2015. 
  4. ^ "In The Theatres". The Sydney Morning Herald. 22 May 1941. Retrieved 4 March 2012. 
  5. ^ Mercado, Andrew. Super Aussie Soaps, Pluto Press Australia, 2004. ISBN 1-86403-191-3 p 46
  6. ^ "Actress Pat, 'the ultimate professional', dies at 58 (sic)". The Canberra Times. 11 Mar 1990. Retrieved 4 October 2013. 

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