Philippa Baker (actress)
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Philippa Baker (born 1930-1931, Sydney) credited also as Phillippa Baker, is a retired Australian actress of radio, theatre, film, television and TV movies. She is best known for playing Roma Godolfus in television soap opera Number 96. She started her professional acting career in the 1940s, having previously worked as a librarian. Baker retired from acting in 1988.
Theatre and radio
Baker appeared in television plays by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation from 1958 onwards, and then featured in early Crawford Productions police procedurals Homicide and Division Four. Baker became best known for playing Roma in top-rated soap opera Number 96. She joined as Russian emigrant Roma Lubinski early in the show's run in 1972, becoming a comedy double-act with Johnny Lockwood, who played her character's soon-to-be husband Aldo, the deli proprietor. They reprised their roles in the 1974 feature film version of Number 96. They were written out of the serial in late 1974 with attached publicity, but returned several weeks later: it was always planned as a temporary absence and the media stories a publicity stunt.
By August 1975 the program's ratings had entered a slump and a drastic revamp of the show was planned. The writers decided to write out several high-profile characters, so in early September 1975 the show's famous bomb blast killed four residents including Roma and Aldo. In 1976 Baker and Lockwood appeared in ...And They Said It Wouldn't Last, a retrospective celebrating the 1000th episode of Number 96.
In 1976 Baker joined comedy series The Norman Gunston Show in recurring sketch The Checkout Chicks, a parody of melodramatic soap operas set in a supermarket. The Checkout Chicks featured other former Number 96 actors Abigail, Vivienne Garrett, Candy Raymond, Judy Lynne and Anne Louise Lambert.
After Number 96
Through the 1980s Baker made various appearances in theatre, film and television. She had small roles in high-profile films Annie's Coming Out (1984) and Young Einstein (1988). When not acting, Baker returned to her career as a public librarian until her retirement.
Selected roles (Television and film)
|Year of Production||Title||Role|
|1958||Rose Without a Thorn (TV Movie)|
|1962||Funnel Web (TV Movie)|
|1964||A Sound of Trumpets (TV Movie)|
|1968||Contrabandits (TV series)||Prudence|
|1970||Eden House (TV Movie)|
|1971||The Godfathers (TV series)||Molly|
|1970-71||Division 4||2 roles - Mrs Couter - Helen McGuire|
|1970-72||Homicide||3 roles - Mrs Allen - Mrs Campbell - Mrs Johnson (credited as Phillipa Baker)|
|1974||Number 96 (feature film version)||Roma Godulfus|
|1972-75||Number 96 (TV series)||Mrs. Roma Lubinski/Godulfus|
|1975||The Norman Gunston Show||as member of "Check-out Chicks" (soap opera parody)|
|1976||Murcheson Creek (TV Movies)|
|1977||Pig in a Poke (TV series) episode Christine's Story|
|1977||Say You Want Me (TV Movie)|
|1981||A Hard God (TV Movie)||Monica|
|1983||The Weekly's War||Mrs Cruickshank|
|1984||Five Mile Creek (TV series)||Mrs. Curtis|
|1984||A Test of Love||Sister Waterman|
|1988||The Dirtwater Dynasty (TV mini-series)||Landlady|
|1988||Young Einstein||Fred's mother|
- "Number 96 together again".)
- Fawcett, Tony. "The Double Life of Mrs Godolfus!" TV Week. 4 August 1973, p.20