I was very sad to hear today that actress Cornelia Frances has died. Frances was diagnosed with bladder cancer last year and even though she was determined to beat the disease, she passed away yesterday (28 May). British TV viewers know her best as lawyer Morag Bellingham in Home and Away but I will remember her most fondly as Barbara Hamilton in Sons and Daughters which was my favourite Australian soap opera in the 80s.
Although Cornelia is always described as Australian, she was in fact born in Liverpool, England. She emigrated to Australia in 1970 and it was there that she built a successful acting career.
Frances also appeared in another classic Australian soap, The Young Doctors, and hosted the Australian version of The Weakest Link.
Home and Away’s Ray Meagher who plays her on-screen brother Alf said:
Cornie was an incredibly loved and valued member of our cast over many, many years. We had a moment of silence for her on set this morning and she’ll be sadly missed by both cast and crew.
A statement from Home and Away’s Australian network Seven added:
Cornelia Frances was a unique person. Her on-screen presence inspired a generation of actors. This gift was coupled with an ability to bring a sense of dignity and presence into each room she entered. Her energy and character will be missed.
For old times’s sake, here’s an interview with Cornelia Frances talking about her comeback on Home and Away in 2016. May she rest in peace.