Joyce Jacobs

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Joyce Jacobs
Joyce Mary Penn

(1922-04-15)15 April 1922
Died15 September 2013(2013-09-15) (aged 91)
Years active1972–2000
Spouse(s)David Ian Hutchinson Jacobs (m. 1946/1947 - 2011; his death)

Joyce Mary Jacobs (née Penn; 15 April 1922 – 15 September 2013) was an Australian character actress, who had a successful career on the small screen, in soap opera and serials, after immigrating there from her native England in 1962. She remains best known for her stint as Muriel Palmer in The Young Doctors and her permanent long running role as Esme Watson on soap opera A Country Practice, at the time one of the longest roles on Australian television[1]


Early life and career[edit]

Jacobs was born one of three siblings in Carshalton, Surrey, England to Leonard Watson Penn and Dora Elsie (née Ferrett) Penn.

She did not embark on a professional acting career until arriving in Australia in 1962. During the 1970s, Jacobs played the small, recurring role of Mrs. Carson in Number 96 and Muriel Palmer on The Young Doctors.

A Country Practice[edit]

in 1981, Jacobs appeared on the pilot episode of A Country Practice, as a character in the medical clinic called Norma after which she returned to the series thereafter donning Edna Everage style glasses and playing Esme Watson on the long-running Seven Network series. She became a regular starting with Episode 99 in 1982. Having worked on the series for 12 years, she was one of the show's longest-serving actresses. She remained with the show until it ended in 1993.

In 1994, Network Ten continued the series under the same title, but with a new setting and a mostly new cast. Jacobs, however, along with Joan Sydney (as matron) reprised her role of Esme Watson. The new version was not as successful as the original and was cancelled after 29 episodes. She appeared in the short film, Heaven on the 4th Floor, in 1998 opposite Bunney Brooke. She appeared in a guest episode on G.P. and in the 1986 television movie Hector's Bunyip.She appeared on a guest appearance on All Saints in 2000.

Personal life[edit]

After retirement, in an interview with the magazine Woman's Day in 2012 she revealed that had been battling Parkinson's disease for 10 years. After her husband of 64 years, David Ian Hutchinson Jacobs, died in 2011, she resided in a rest home facility, Goodhew Gardens, Taren Point, where she celebrated her 90th birthday with fellow cast members.[2]

Jacobs, who was married for 64 years died from Parkinson's disease, aged 91, at Goodhew Gardens rest home facility, Taren Point, New South Wales, on 21 September 2013.[3]



Year Title Role Notes
1998-2000 All Saints Mavis Davis 2 Episodes
1998 Heaven on the 4th Floor Joyce Williams TV Short
1996 G.P. Jean Oswald 1 Episode
1995 Coverstory Vriendin Denise 1 Episode
1994 A Country Practice Esme Watson 29 Episodes
1981-1993 A Country Practice Esme Watson / Norma 805 Episodes
1981 Hector's Bunyip Ivy Clements TV Movie
1981 The Young Doctors Muriel Palmer 1 Episode
1979 Number 96 Mrs Carson 1 Episode


  1. ^ "Keneally sworn in as state's first female premier". Herald Sun. Australia. 4 December 2009. Retrieved 4 December 2009.
  2. ^ Interview Archived 16 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine,; accessed 22 March 2015.
  3. ^ "A Country Practice star Joyce Jacobs who played Esme Watson dies aged 91", Herald Sun, 17 September 2013; retrieved 17 September 2013.

External links[edit]