Wendy Hughes

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Wendy Hughes
Born(1952-07-29)29 July 1952
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Died8 March 2014(2014-03-08) (aged 61)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
OccupationActress, producer
Spouse(s) Chris Haywood (?–?) (divorced) (1 child)
Patric Juillet (1980–?) (divorced) (1 child)
Sean Scully (1971–1973) (divorced) [1]
ChildrenCharlotte (b. 1978)
Jay [2]

Wendy Hughes (29 July 1952 8 March 2014) was an award-winning [3] [4] Australian actress known for her work in theatre, film and television. Her career spanned more than forty years and established her reputation as one of Australia's finest and most prolific actors. [5] 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 [6] to English-born parents, [7] Hughes originally studied to become a ballerina [8] but during her teenage year she turned her focus to acting and later graduated from the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA) [6] and, after honing her skills with the Melbourne Theatre Company, had her first film role in Petersen (1974). [8] During the early 1970s she also had her first television parts, including appearing in Power Without Glory , a television series first broadcast in 1976.

Called "one of the most 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. [9]

As an actress

Hughes's first internationally known role was the character Patricia in Lonely Hearts (1982). [10] This role commenced a decades-long collaboration with the Dutch-Australian director Paul Cox. [10]

As one of the leading actresses in Australian cinema, Hughes's 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 . [11] [12]

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. [11] 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, in the episode Lessons , as one of the few love interests that Captain Jean-Luc Picard had 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. Hughes's film appearances at this approximate time included the fact-based comedy-drama Princess Caraboo and Paradise Road. Her later film roles included Salvation (2007), The Caterpillar Wish (2006) and The Man Who Sued God (2001). [13]

Stage appearances by Hughes during this time included as Mrs. Robinson in the 2001 Melbourne version of The Graduate, Martha in a 2007 staging of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? by the Melbourne Theatre Company, [14] the character of Honor in Honour in 2010, [15] and Henry Higgins's mother in Pygmalion (2012).

Her last TV appearance was in Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries .


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 . [16]

Personal life

Hughes had two children, a son with restaurateur Patric Juillet and a daughter with actor Chris Haywood. She was also married to actor Sean Scully for a short time. [6] [17] She was survived by her two children, three grandchildren and two siblings.


Hughes died of cancer on 8 March 2014, aged 61. 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 actor. [17]

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  1. Sydney Morning Herald
  2. Daily Telegraph
  3. Lyndall Crisp in The Australian (6 April 2010). "Blissfully At Ease Standing Alone".
  4. 1 2 3 Australian Center for the Moving Image. "Focus on Wendy Hughes". Archived from the original on 11 December 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  5. "Wendy's House". 2006.
  6. 1 2 3 "Australian actor Wendy Hughes has died at the age of 61". Herald Sun. News Ltd. 8 March 2014. Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  7. ABC
  8. 1 2 The Movies Hype. "Wendy Hughes Biography". Archived from the original on 14 December 2013. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  9. MSN Entertainment. "Wendy Hughes Biography". Archived from the original on 8 March 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  10. 1 2 Philip Tyndall in Australian Center for the Moving Image. "A Celebration of Wendy Hughes". Archived from the original on 12 March 2014. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  11. 1 2 "Wendy Hughes Filmography by Year Imdb".
  12. Vagg, Stephen (18 August 2019). "Australian Movie Stars". Filmink.
  13. The Movies Hype. "Movies with Wendy Hughes".
  14. MacMillan, Lola. "Whos Afraid of Virginia Woolf? / Melbourne Theatre Company". Australian Stage. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  15. "Honour". Australian Stage. Retrieved 28 May 2013.
  16. "AACTA – Past Winners – 1980–1989 – 1983". Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts (AACTA). Retrieved 8 March 2014.
  17. 1 2 Dumas, Daisy (8 March 2014). "Actress Wendy Hughes dead at 61". The Age. Fairfax Media. Retrieved 8 March 2014.