Phelan also appeared in a variety of local TV series including Homicide, Blue Heelers and Neighbours
Anne Phelan, an Australian actress and activist, died at age 75. After the 2016 Equity Lifetime Achievement Award Lifetime, she was photographed in this picture. Photo: Adam Hollingworth, Equity Foundation
Australian actor Anne Phelan, best known for her appearance in Prisoner’s long-running TV series – known as Prisoner Cell Block H in the UK – died at 75 years of age.
After her television debut in 1968, Phelan has been a well-known face on Australian screens, with numerous appearances in successful and acclaimed local series including Homicide, Blue Heelers, Neighbours, and Winners and Losers.
Phelan got her big break in 1979 as Myra Desmond in Prisoner after a part in rural soap opera Bellbird in the 70s. Until 1985, she would play the role.
She continued to appear in a wide array of Australia’s most popular television shows, including Matlock Police, A Country Practice, The Flying Doctors, and more.
Phelan’s stage career was extensive, appearing with major Australian theatre companies including Melbourne Theatre Company, Queensland Theatre, and Playbox in more than 50 productions.
In film, in the screen adaptations of Ruth Park’s seminal novels, The Harp in the South and Poor Man’s Orange, Phelan was widely praised for her performances.Phelan received nominations and awards for her role as Mumma Darcy from the Australian Film Institute and the Australian Television Society’s Penguin awards.
She has appeared in a handful of other Australian movies, most recently in the biopic Ride like a Girl by Michelle Payne.
Marea Jablonski, agent of Phelan at BGM, said in a statement that the health of Phelan had “only recently” taken “a very sudden turn for the worst.”
“She had an incredible ability to create very true characters,” said Jablonski.
Phelan won a Green Room award for the best actress support for her role as Rachael in the production of Season’s Greetings by the Melbourne Theatre company.
She has won two of Australia’s best actress awards for her role on Prisoner from the Television Society.
In 2000, along with Eric Bana and later Vince Colosimo, Phelan was the recipient of an AFI Best Actress Award for her appearance in the drama series something in the Air.
Phelan was a long-standing member of the performing arts union and won the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance Equity Lifetime Achievement Award in 2016.
She was also a committed member of Actors for Refugees and Positive Women’s supporter who supports women living with HIV and was awarded for her community activism.
Phelan was awarded an Order of Australia for Arts and Community Service in 2007.


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