Wendy Hughes

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Wendy Hughes
Born (1952-07-29)29 July 1952
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Died 8 March 2014(2014-03-08) (aged 61)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Occupation Actress
Children 2

Wendy Hughes (29 July 1952 – 8 March 2014) was an Australian actress known for her work in theatre, film and television. Born of English parents, she made her film debut in 1974. Her biggest role was in Lonely Hearts, played in 1982 (this film was the beginning of a long collaboration with director Paul Cox). In her later career she acted in Happy New Year along with stars Peter Falk and Charles Durning. In 1993 she played Dr. Carol Blythe, M. E. in Homicide: Life on the Street. In the late 1990s, she starred in State Coroner and Paradise Road.


Born in Melbourne, Australia[1] to English parents,[2] Hughes was an award-winning actress.[3][4] Her career spanned more than forty years and established her reputation as one of Australia's most prolific and finest actors.[5] Hughes originally studied to become a ballerina[6] but during her teenage year she turned her focus to acting and later graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA)[1] and, after honing her skills with the Melbourne Theatre Company, had her first film role in Petersen (1974).[6] During the early 1970s she also had her first television parts, including appearing in Power Without Glory, a television series first broadcast in 1976.[2]

Called "one of the important players in the development and productivity of Australian film",[4] Hughes worked closely with prominent Australian artists such as the cinematographer John Seale and the writers David Williamson and Bob Ellis.[4] She was one of the leading players in the 1970s' "New Australian Film" renaissance.[7]


Hughes' first internationally known role was the character Patricia in Lonely Hearts (1982).[8] This role commenced a decades-long collaboration with the Dutch-Australian director Paul Cox.[8]

As one of the leading actresses in Australian cinema, Hughes' roles in the 1970s and 1980s included those in Newsfront, Kostas, My Brilliant Career, Lucinda Brayford, Touch and Go, Hoodwink, Lonely Hearts, Careful, He Might Hear You, My First Wife, I Can't Get Started, An Indecent Obsession, Echoes of Paradise, Boundaries of the Heart, Warm Nights on a Slow Moving Train (1988) and Luigi's Ladies.[9]

Hughes made her American debut in 1987 in John G. Avildsen's film Happy New Year opposite Peter Falk and Charles Durning. In 1989 she starred opposite Pierce Brosnan in The Heist, a TV movie made by HBO.[9] She continued to make occasional appearances on television, such as playing Jilly Stewart in the mini-series Return to Eden in 1983. During the early 1990s, she spent time in the United States, where she played medical examiner Dr Carol Blythe in the television series Homicide: Life on the Street. She also appeared in the miniseries Amerika and made a guest appearance as Lieutenant Commander Nella Daren on Star Trek: The Next Generation as one of Captain Picard's few love interests on the show. Back in Australia, Hughes played lead roles on television in The Man From Snowy River ("Snowy River: The McGregor Saga") and State Coroner. Film appearances around this time include Princess Caraboo and Paradise Road.

Later film roles include Salvation (2007), The Caterpillar Wish (2006) and The Man Who Sued God (2001).[10] Stage appearances included Mrs Robinson in the Melbourne version of The Graduate (2001), Martha in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (2007)[11] Honor in Honour (2010)[12] and Henry Higgins' mother in Pygmalion (2012).


She was nominated for Australian Film Institute acting awards six times, and won the Best Lead actress award in 1983 for her performance in Careful, He Might Hear You.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Hughes had two children, a son with restaurateur Patrick Juillet and a daughter with actor Chris Haywood. She was also married to actor Sean Scully for some time.[1][14]


Hughes died of cancer in the morning of 8 March 2014, aged 61. Her last TV appearance was in Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. Actor Bryan Brown announced her death to an audience attending the play Travelling North in Sydney that afternoon, asking the audience to join him in a standing ovation in tribute to the late actress.[14]


  1. ^ a b c "Australian actor Wendy Hughes has died at the age of 61". Herald Sun. News Ltd. 8 March 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2014. 
  2. ^ a b [1]
  3. ^ Lyndall Crisp in The Australian (6 April 2010). "Blissfully At Ease Standing Alone". 
  4. ^ a b c Australian Center for the Moving Image. "Focus on Wendy Hughes". 
  5. ^ "Wendy's House". 2006. 
  6. ^ a b The Movies Hype. "Wendy Hughes Biography". 
  7. ^ MSN Entertainment. "Wendy Hughes Biography". 
  8. ^ a b Philip Tyndall in Australian Center for the Moving Image. "A Celebration of Wendy Hughes". 
  9. ^ a b "Wendy Hughes Filmography by Year Imdb". 
  10. ^ The Movies Hype. "Movies with Wendy Hughes". 
  11. ^ MacMillan, Lola. "Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf? / Melbourne Theatre Company". Australian Stage. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  12. ^ "Honour". Australian Stage. Retrieved 28 May 2013. 
  13. ^ "AACTA – Past Winners – 1980–1989 – 1983". Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA). Retrieved 8 March 2014. 
  14. ^ a b Dumas, Daisy (8 March 2014). "Actress Wendy Hughes dead at 61". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 8 March 2014. 

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