Cornelia Frances

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Cornelia Frances
Cornelia Frances (cropped).jpg
Frances at the 2011 Logie Awards
Cornelia Frances Zulver

(1941-04-07)7 April 1941
Liverpool, England
Died 28 May 2018(2018-05-28) (aged 77)
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Other names Corney Frances (nickname)
Occupation Actress
Years active 1959–2017
Notable work
Morag Bellingham on Home and Away
Sister/Matron Grace Scott on The Young Doctors
Barbara Hamilton on Sons and Daughters
The Weakest Link as host
Spouse(s) Michael Eastland (1969–?; divorced)
Children 1

Cornelia Frances Zulver, OAM (7 April 1941 – 28 May 2018), credited professionally as Cornelia Frances, was an English-Australian actress. After starting her career in British films, she became best known for her acting career in Australia after emigrating there in 1970, particularly her iconic television soap opera roles with portrayals of nasty characters. Frances was known for her role as Morag Bellingham on Home and Away since its inception in 1988, after leaving that series, she appeared on a semi-regular basis as the storyline permitted, rejoining briefly as a permanent cast member in 2001, before going back to an itinerant basis.

Frances was also known for playing nurse Sister Grace Scott on the Nine Network series The Young Doctors (1976–1978), and Barbara Hamilton on Sons and Daughters on Network Seven (1982–1986). She appeared in the film version of regular series TV soap The Box. She also worked briefly on stage and in voice-over. In the early 2000s, she was the hostess of the Australian version of quiz show The Weakest Link.

Early life and career

Born in Liverpool, Merseyside, England, Frances was educated at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London.[1] Her early work was in British-made feature films as an extra and bit-part player. This included bit parts in two films directed by her uncle Michael Powell: Peeping Tom (1960), and The Queen's Guards (1961).[2]

Career in Australia

Frances' acting career flourished after she had emigrated to Australia in the 1960s.[1][3] She worked at the Playhouse Theatre in Perth appearing in Henry IV Parts I and 2, (1967) directed by Edgar Metcalfe; and Mary Mary which toured regional Western Australia and played a season at the Playhouse. She appeared nightly on television as the host of Channel 9's Tom's TV Bingo; Tom's was a supermarket in Perth.[citation needed] After taking a lead role in the film adaptation of sex-comedy soap opera The Box in 1975, and the role of Mrs Quinn in The Lost Islands in 1976, she became known across Australia for her long-running role of the strict and acidic Sister Grace Scott in daily soap opera The Young Doctors.[4] After leaving that series to move to Melbourne with her husband who had been transferred there, she worked as a television reporter on "light" stories for Peter Couchman's Melbourne, a current affairs program hosted by Peter Couchman.[5]

In April 1980, Frances made a guest appearance as lawyer Carmel Saunders on Prisoner.[6][7] Later she acted in guest-starring television roles, before taking another well-remembered role, that of Barbara Armstrong (later Hamilton) in Sons and Daughters, a role she played from 1982 until 1986.

On 7 June 1988, Frances made her first appearance on Home and Away as Morag Bellingham, a judge and sister of Alf Stewart (Ray Meagher), whom she always clashed with, as well as the sister of Celia Stewart (Fiona Spence) and half-sister of, (much to her dislike) of Colleen Smart (Lyn Collingwood), both of whom she always also shared comic banter with. Frances played the recurring role of Morag for twenty-nine years.[8] She expressed a desire to play Morag full-time on the show, and admitted that she did not like the coming-and-going as it was "very unsettling."[9]

From 1997 to 1998, Frances provided the voice of Tortoise on the Australian/Chinese children's series Magic Mountain.[10] She also hosted the Australian version of quiz show The Weakest Link (2001–2002).[11] In the early 2000s, Frances worked for a winery in the Hunter Valley when she could not get acting work.[1] Her autobiography And What Have You Done Lately? was published in 2003.[12]

On 26 January 2019, Frances was awarded the Medal of the Order of Australia (OAM).[13]

Charity work

In 2011, Frances joined the Australian Orangutan Project (AOP) as its first Ambassador in an effort to raise awareness about critically endangered orangutans. Frances travelled to the island of Borneo, Indonesia, on 16 October 2011 to see first-hand the effect of the widespread deforestation of orangutan habitat, and how orangutans are being rehabilitated.[14] In June 2016, Frances made a sizable donation to the National Health Organisation in order to bring awareness to female reproductive health.[citation needed]

Personal life

Frances had one son, named Lawrence.[15]


In January 2018, she revealed that she was battling bladder cancer that had spread to her hip, but stated that she was hopeful of reprising her role of Morag in Home and Away for the show's 30th anniversary.[16] However, she succumbed to the cancer, after it had metastasized to her spine, despite having undergone chemotherapy and radiation treatment, and died on 28 May 2018 at the age of 77 at the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney, coincidentally where the show The Young Doctors was filmed.[17][18] Paying tribute to Frances, the Seven Network, which airs Home and Away in Australia, said: "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." She was also given tributes from her numerous co-stars including Meagher and Judy Nunn.[19] A private funeral was held later that week.[20]


Year Title Role
1960 Peeping Tom Girl in sports car leaving studio
1961 The Queen's Guards Officer's girl friend
1975 The Box Dr. S M Winter
1981 Outbreak of Hostilities
1988 The Man from Snowy River II Mrs. Darcy
1989 Minnamurra Caroline Richards
2003 Ned Tina


Year Title Role Notes
1970 Dynasty Georgina Clausen Season 1 (2 episodes)
1971–72 Catwalk Cornelia Heyson Season 1 (14 episodes)
1973 Boney Stella Borredale Season 2, Episode 3: "Boney and the Stranger"
1973 Ryan Amelia Season 1, Episode 16: "Nobody's Perfect"
1974 Matlock Police Catherine Upton Season 4: "Everybody Else Has Everything"
1974 Homicide Veronica Coates Season 11, Episode 5: "Just Good Friends"
1974 Division 4 Angela Ward Season 6, Episode 12: "For My Next Trick"
1974 Silent Number Ivy Season 1, Episode 15: "Contingency Plan"
1974 Essington Unknown Role Television film
1975 Division 4 Sandra Fleming Season 7, Episode 1: "A Man of Substance"
1975 Matlock Police Barbara Anderson Season 5: "United We Stand"
1975 Homicide Julie Kurnow Season 12: "Rampage"
1975 Two Way Mirror Liz Hardy Television film
1975 The Last Rites Unknown Television film
1975–76 Homicide Unknown role(s) Season 12/Season 13 (2 episodes)
1976 King's Men Unknown role Season 1, Episode 3: "The Butcher"
1976 The Lost Islands Elizabeth Quinn Season 1 (26 episodes)
1976 Murcheson Creek Unknown role Television film
1977 The Outsiders Mrs. Foster Season 1, Episode 11: "Opal Strike"
1977 All at Sea Miss Swallow Television film
1978 Tickled Pink Joan Jefferson Season 1, Episode 1: "Neutral Ground"
1978 Cop Shop Anne Carter 1 episode
1979 Skyways Wendy Kirk "Responsibility"
1979 Skyways Susan Winters "Track Down/Airborn"
1976–79 The Young Doctors Sister Scott/Matron Scott Series regular 3 years
1980 Prisoner Carmel Saunders Season 2 (4 episodes)
1980 A Wild Ass of a Man Sibella Wolfenden Television film
1981 Punishment Cathy Wells Unknown episode(s)
1981 Bellamy Aretha Season 1, Episode 18: "The Bank You Can Trust"
1981 Run Rebecca, Run Member for Southdown Television film
1980–82 Kingswood Country Dr. Hemmingway Season 1–3 (3 episodes)
1982 Runaway Island Agatha McLeod Television film
1984 Runaway Island Agatha McLeod Unknown episode(s)
1982–86 Sons and Daughters Barbara Armstrong (later Hamilton) Seasons 1–5 (522 episodes)
1987 Jackal and Hide Madame Zentha Television film
1987 Future Past Mother Television film
1989 Pirates Island Captain Blackheart Television film[21]
1995 The Ferals Teacher Season 2, Episode 7: "School's Out"
1995 G.P. Season 7, Episode 35: "So Like a Woman"[22]
1997–98 Magic Mountain Tortoise (voice) Seasons 1–2 (52 episodes)
2003 Always Greener Janet Frawley Season 2 (2 episodes)
2003 Pizza Welfare Season 3, Episode 1: "Brand New Pizza"
2006–08 Milly, Molly Aunt Maude (voice) Seasons 1–2
1988–2017 Home and Away Morag Bellingham Season 1 (1988 - recurring)
Season 2 (1989 - regular)
Season 6 (1993 - recurring)
Seasons 14–22 (2001–2009 - recurring)
Seasons 24–26 (2011–2013 - recurring)
Seasons 29–30 (2016–2017 - guest)


Year Title Role Location
1986 Agnes of God[23] Mother Miriam
1987 A Lie of the Mind Lorraine Belvoir St Theatre, Sydney[24]
1990 How the Other Half Loves Footbridge Theatre, Sydney[25]
1992 The Heiress Marian Street Theatre, Sydney[26]
1998 Diving for Pearls Marj Ensemble Theatre, Sydney[27]


  1. ^ a b c Tabakoff, Jenny (5–11 March 2001). "Life's a bitch and then you become one". The Sydney Morning Herald. pp. 1, 4–5. Retrieved 28 February 2018 – via
  2. ^ "Home And Away legend Cornelia Frances was born in Liverpool, England before emigrating to Australia". The Metro. 29 May 2018. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Points North". The Sydney Morning Herald. 7 January 1993. p. 12. Retrieved 28 February 2018 – via Free to read
  4. ^ Hardy, Karen (11 April 2012). "From one redhead to another, with love". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  5. ^ Lawrence, Mark (2 August 1979). "Peter Couchman at 7 pm". The Age. p. 25. Retrieved 28 February 2018 – via Free to read
  6. ^ "Cornelia Frances makes a guest appearance in Channel 10's 'Prisoner' series". The Age. 10 April 1980. Retrieved 28 February 2018 – via Free to read
  7. ^ Lilly, Alex (30 May 2018). "Cornelia Frances' most iconic moments, from Home & Away to The Weakest Link". Now to Love. Retrieved 30 August 2018.
  8. ^ "She came home, now she's gone away again". Herald Sun. The Herald and Weekly Times. 14 April 2011. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  9. ^ Rainey, Naomi (9 March 2011). "Frances: 'I want Morag to stay in H&A'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  10. ^ Enker, Debi (1 June 1997). "Kids picks". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 23. Retrieved 28 February 2018 – via Free to read
  11. ^ Toy, Mitchell (11 May 2015). "The greatest defunct game shows ever to have graced Aussie screens". Herald Sun. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  12. ^ Moran, Albert; Keating, Chris (2009). The A to Z of Australian Radio and Television. Scarecrow Press. p. 175. ISBN 978-0-8108-7022-2. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  13. ^ Stehle, Mark (26 January 2019). "Australia Day Honours 2019: Full list of recipients". The Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved 27 January 2019.
  14. ^ "Cornelia Francis launches 'Red Heads for Red Heas' as Australian Orangutan Project ambassador". Online PR Media. 10 October 2011. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  15. ^ Knox, David (29 October 2015). "Cornelia Frances returning to Home & Away". TV Tonight. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  16. ^ Knox, David (7 January 2018). "Cornelia Frances reveals cancer battle". TV Tonight. Retrieved 28 February 2018.
  17. ^ Karasin, Ekin (29 May 2018). "'The pain comes and goes': Cornelia Frances' poignant last words about her cancer battle in her final interview from the hospital where she filmed Young Doctors four decades earlier". MSN. Retrieved 31 May 2018.
  18. ^ Moran, Jonathon (29 May 2018). "Actor Cornelia Frances dead at 77". Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  19. ^ "Home and Away actress Cornelia Frances dies aged 77 following cancer battle". Sky News. 29 May 2018. Retrieved 29 May 2018.
  20. ^ Jackson, Candice (5 June 2018). "'Mum is finally at peace': A private funeral is held for beloved actress Cornelia Frances after her death from cancer aged 77 as her son Lawrence Eastland calls her 'my best friend'". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
  21. ^ Adams, Clay (30 September 1981). "Runaway Island – for European eyes only". The Australian Women's Weekly. Retrieved 2 March 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  22. ^ Rosenberg, Jen (23 October 1995). "Open view of transsexuality". The Canberra Times. Retrieved 2 March 2018 – via National Library of Australia.
  23. ^ Simmonds, Diana (30 August 1986). "The swashbuckling Cap'n Jane cuts a swathe through visual sugar". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 38. Retrieved 28 February 2018 – via Free to read
  24. ^ Evans, Bob (31 July 1987). "Bond of blood and bone". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 16. Retrieved 28 February 2018 – via Free to read
  25. ^ "Theatre Directory". The Sydney Morning Herald. 26 January 1990. p. 4s. Retrieved 28 February 2018 – via Free to read
  26. ^ Healey, Ken (4 October 1992). "Welcome return to old-style flair". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 114. Retrieved 28 February 2018 – via Free to read
  27. ^ Payne, Pamela (7 June 1998). "Dive to survive". The Sydney Morning Herald. p. 9. Retrieved 28 February 2018 – via Free to read

External links

  • Cornelia Frances on IMDb
  • Cornelia Frances Au soaps profile
  • Digital Spy interviews Cornelia Frances
Retrieved from ""
This content was retrieved from Wikipedia :
This page is based on the copyrighted Wikipedia article "Cornelia Frances"; it is used under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA). You may redistribute it, verbatim or modified, providing that you comply with the terms of the CC-BY-SA