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Australian Actress Carol Burns Passes Away at 68

One of Australia's most versatile and acclaimed actors, Carol Burns has passed away, aged 68, after a short battle with cancer. Her partner of 36 years, composer and musician, Alan Lawrence was at her bedside as she passed at Brisbane's Princess Alexandra Hospital.

QPAC Chief Executive John Kotzas said this was a tremendous loss to the arts community. "Carol was a dear friend to QPAC, an inspiration to generations of Queensland actors and directors. She will be dearly missed by the performing arts sector and by audiences around the world. Her passion for live performance was lifelong. She leaves behind an enormous legacy for the art form and for Queensland. She will be missed," said Mr Kotzas.

Born in Brisbane in 1947, Carol attended Milton State Primary School where her initiation into the world of theatre began with elocution classes in 1958. She then acted with Brisbane Arts Theatre and also Twelfth Night Theatre in Brisbane.

However, she began her professional career as a founding member of the Queensland Theatre Company (QTC) in 1969 and went on to star in numerous productions with the likes of Geoffrey Rush and Bille Brown. Since then she has been a major contributor to its success, appearing in productions including The Female of the Species, Rabbit Hole, Black Comedy, Private Lives, The Real Inspector Hound, A Conversation, Bill & Mary, The Clean House, Design for Living, and too many more to mention.

In 2005, Burns performed in the sell-out season of Edward Albee's production of The Goat or Who is Sylvia?. As part of their 2007 season, she appeared in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams, and in 2012 Elizabeth: Almost by Chance a Woman by Italian playwright Dario Fo.

Most recently Carol took the lead role in Samuel Beckett's Happy Days as part of QTC's 2015 season, for which she received rave reviews.

Her other theatre credits included productions with Sydney Theatre Company, Melbourne Theatre Company, La Boite Theatre Company, Nimrod Theatre Company and the State Theatre Company of South Australia.

Burns had acted exclusively in the theatre for ten years before acting in film or on television. She then appeared in such iconic Australian television series as The Day of the Roses, The Love of Lionel's Life, Blue Heelers, Reef Doctors, Small Claims, Carson's Law,Flipper, All the Rivers Run, Fire, Medivac and Pig in a Poke.

Her most famous television role was her award winning performance in the now cult television program, Prisoner, in which she played tough lesbian bikie, Franky Doyle. Although she only appeared in the first 20 episodes, her character attained cult status resulting in her winning a TV Week Logie Award for Best Lead Actress. In a 2011 interview she stated she left the show because the pay was very low and the work load was increasing due to the more rapid production of episodes. She also stated that it was her decision to be killed off as she did not want to be lured back to the series.

After Prisoner Carol went to work in the UK appearing in West End and regional productions, and had guest roles including The Bill,Taggart, Casualty, Heartbeat and Hannay.

Burns appeared in many films including The Mango Tree, Bad Blood, Starstruck, Strikebound, Hard Drive, Dusty, The Turning,Small Mercies and more recently Gettin' Square and Tracks.

Burns was also a talented director, directing several productions including The Road to Mecca and A Day in the Death of Joe Egg and her own stage adaptation of Picnic At Hanging Rock for Brisbane Arts Theatre.

Carol Burns was an Associate Artist of Queensland Theatre Company and Queensland Arts Council/Artslink; Patron of The Independent Theatre (Eumundi) and Fame Theatre School (Brisbane); a member of Actors Equity since 1973; President of Actors Equity Queensland; and a member of the National Performance Committee.

Carol Burns also served as Vice-President of the Actors' & Entertainers' Benevolent Fund (Qld) Inc., the registered charity which assists performers in need.

Details of a special arts industry memorial will be announced shortly.

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