Patricia Kennedy (actress)

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Patricia Kennedy OBE (17 March 1916 – 10 December 2012) was a noted Australian actress of stage, radio, film and television.


Patricia Carmel Stewart Kennedy[1][2] was born in Queenscliff, Victoria on St Patrick's Day, 1916[3] (many sources give her year of birth as 1917).

She trained as a school teacher before winning the Colac Amateur Festival around 1938, which sparked a passion for acting.


Patricia Kennedy was noted for her range – from high drama to comedy. She was mainly based in Melbourne, and had a strong association with the Melbourne Theatre Company (MTC), but she also performed in England with the Bristol Old Vic Company's 1969-1970 season.[4]

She appeared in plays such as Jay Presson Allen's adaptation of Muriel Spark's The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie (1968),[5] Ibsen's Ghosts (1969: Mrs Alving), Shakespeare's All's Well That Ends Well, The Man Who Shot the Albatross (1972),[4] and Some of My Best Friends are Women (1976).[6]

Her portrayal of Mary in the South Australian Theatre Company's Melbourne production of Eugene O'Neill's Long Day's Journey into Night was described as "the best female performance on the Melbourne stage in 1973", and that production is considered one of the landmark productions in Australian theatre, largely due to Patricia Kennedy's involvement.[7]

Plays written for her included the single-hander The Rain by Daniel Keene.[8]

She appeared alongside Zoe Caldwell in the MTC's production of Euripides' Medea, the first production at the Arts Centre Melbourne's Playhouse Theatre in 1984.[9]

In 1991 and 1992 she appeared solo in a theatrical adaptation of Elizabeth Jolley's novel The Newspaper of Claremont Street in a number of venues in Victoria, staged by the Playbox Theatre Company.[10]

She was still active with the MTC well into her 80s.[11]


In 1946 Patricia Kennedy shared the title role in Crawford Productions' radio drama The Melba Story with Glenda Raymond (later to become Hector Crawford's wife),[12]

She played Miss Crump on the long-running ABC radio program The Village Glee Club (1942–71).[13]

She also appeared in episodes of the Caltex Theatre.[14]

Film and television[edit]

Patricia Kennedy's film roles included:

Her television appearances included A Country Practice, G.P., Five Mile Creek, Return to Eden, Holiday Island, The Sullivans and Prisoner.[15]

In 1972-73 she worked as a consultant to the Australia Council for the Arts.[4]

Patricia Kennedy was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1982 New Year's Honours, for service to the performing arts.[1]

She remained single, very private and very independent. Even in her 80s, although she owned a house in Melbourne, she preferred to live alone in a hut without electricity, on the edge of a state forest near Bega in southern New South Wales. This was 5–6 hours drive by road from Melbourne, where she would travel for theatre commitments. She was a practising Catholic.[8]

She died on 10 December 2012, aged 96.[3] A private service was held on 19 December.[16]