Carol Ann Burns (29 October 1947 – 22 December 2015) was an Australian actress, theatre director and patron of the arts, with a career spanning 50 years. She worked extensively in theatre and television serials, as well as telemovies and mini-series in Australia and the United Kingdom. In Australia she was a founding member of the Queensland Theatre Company.
Carol Ann Burns
29 October 1947
|Died||22 December 2015 (aged 68)|
Brisbane, Queensland, Australia
|Education||Brisbane Arts Theatre, Twelfth Night Theatre|
|Spouse||Alan Lawrence (1979–2015, her death)|
Burns was an original cast member, as Franky Doyle, in the serial Prisoner during the first season in 1979 and although she only appeared in the first 20 episodes, she became a major breakout and much loved character, and gained cult status as a fan favourite.
Burns was born and raised in Brisbane, Queensland. Her mother Mary (née Langford) was a receptionist and her father William was a motor spare parts manager. She attended Milton State Primary School where her initiation into the world of theatre began with speech and drama classes in 1958. Burns acted with Brisbane Arts Theatre and also Twelfth Night Theatre, where she was a student of theatre director, Joan Whalley, and also tutored within the junior drama workshops, in Brisbane.
Television and filmEdit
Burns' major television role was her performance in the cult television program Prisoner, in which she played the tough but affable lesbian bikie character, Frieda "Franky" Doyle. Although only appearing in the first 20 episodes, her character attained cult status, resulting in her winning a Logie Award for Best Lead Actress in a Series. Burns stated in a 2011 interview that she left the show due to very low pay and an increased workload as a result of 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. After Burns's departure from the series the producers released a telemovie titled The Franky Doyle Story which they compiled using footage from the episodes in which Burns had participated.
Burns, an experienced and versatile theatre actress, went to the UK and appeared in numerous West End theatre productions and had roles in TV series such as The Bill, Taggart and Heartbeat. Burns also appeared in films, particularly during the late 1970s and 1980s, including The Mango Tree (1977), Bad Blood (1981), Starstruck (1982) and Strikebound (1984)
Burns had acted exclusively in the theatre for ten years before film or television, based in Brisbane. In 2005, Burns performed in the Queensland Theatre Company's sell-out season of Edward Albee's production of The Goat, or Who is Sylvia?. As part of the 2007 season, she appeared in The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams. She performed for La Boite Theatre. She was in a stage production of Elizabeth: Almost by Chance a Woman by Italian playwright Dario Fo. In 2015, Burns played, in what turned out to be her final performance, the lead role of Winnie in Samuel Beckett's Happy Days for Queensland Theatre Company.
Burns directed the Queensland Theatre Company productions of The Road to Mecca (2002) and A Day in the Death of Joe Egg (2003), as well as her own adaptation of Picnic at Hanging Rock (2013) at Brisbane Arts Theatre.
Personal life and deathEdit
Burns was married to Alan Lawrence, a British-born musician and composer, for 36 years. She died on 22 December 2015, after a brief cancer illness at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Brisbane at the age of 68.
|1977||The Mango Tree||Maudie Plover||Kevin James Dobson||Feature film|
|1981||Bad Blood||Dorothy Graham||Mike Newell||Feature film NZ|
|1982||Starstruck||Teacher||Gillian Armstrong||Feature film|
|1983||Dusty||Clara||John Richardson||Feature film|
|1984||Strikebound||Agnes Doig||Richard Lowenstein||Feature film|
|2002||Lolly Pops||unknown role||Film short|
|2003||Gettin' Square||Parole Board Chairman||Jonathan Teplitzky||Feature film|
|2010||Girl Clock!||Ms Thompson||Jennifer Ussi||Feature film|
|2011||The Golden Plate||Gretta||
|2013||Tracks||Mrs. Ward||John Curran||Feature film|
|2013||The Turning (segment: "Small Mercies")||Marjorie Keenan||Rhys Graham||Feature film|
|2014||Drive Hard||Granny||Brian Trenchard-Smith||Feature film|
|2015||Bullets for the Dead||Miss Winnie||Michael Du-Shane||Feature film|
|1977||Kirby's Company||unknown role||TV series, 2 episodes|
|1977||Young Ramsay||unknown role||TV series, 1 episode|
|1978||Loss of Innocence||Eleanor||ABC TV Miniseries (3 episodes)|
|1978||Run From The Morning||Sylvia Blake||ABC TV series, Season 1 (regular, 6 episodes)|
|1979||Everyday||Herself with Richard Moir||TV series, 1 episode|
|1979||Prisoner||Franky Doyle||TV series, Season 1 (regular, 20 episodes)|
|1979||The Franky Doyle Story||Franky Doyle||TV movie|
|1979||The Oracle||unknown role||ABC TV series, 1 episode|
|1979||The John Sullivan Story||Biljana||TV movie|
|1979||The Dolebludgers||Shirley||TV movie|
|1979||Lucinda Brayford||Julie Vane||ABC TV miniseries, 1 episode|
|1980||Australian Theatre Festival: Bedfellows||Unknown role||ABC Teleplay|
|1980||The 22nd Annual TV Week Logie Awards||Herself||TV special|
|1981–1984||Cop Shop||Joan Wright||TV series (recurring, 3 episodes)|
|1983||The Dismissal||Cairns's Secretary||Miniseries (1 episode)|
|1983||Carson's Law||May Campbell||TV series, (recurring, 3 episodes)|
|1983||All the Rivers Run||Mrs. Slope||TV Miniseries (2 episodes)|
|1984||Eureka Stockade||Anastasia Hayes||TV Miniseries (2 episodes)|
|1985||Taggart||Molly Barron||TV series UK, Season 1 (guest, 1 episode)|
|1986||Strike it Rich!||Stella Kingsley||TV series UK, Season 1 (recurring, 3 episodes)|
|1989||Hannay||Muriel Thorpe||TV series UK, Season 2 (guest, 1 episode)|
|1989||The Bill||Doreen McKenzie||TV series UK, Season 5 (guest, 1 episode)|
|1989||TV AM||Herself with Fiona Spence & Val Lehman||TV series UK, 1 episode|
|1990||The Great Escape||Herself||TV special, UK|
|1992||Moon and Son||Lucy Gilbert||TV series UK, Season 1 (guest, 1 episode)|
|1993–1994||Casualty||Jean Hall||TV series UK, Season 7 & 8 (guest, 2 episode)|
|1993||Paediatric Registrar||Season 8 (guest, 1 episode)|
|1996||Fire||Counsellor||TV series, Season 2 (guest, 1 episode)|
|1996||Flipper||Mes. Hillier||TV series US/Australia, Season 1 (guest, 1 episode)|
|1996||40 Years Of TV Stars... Then And Now||Herself||TV special|
|1997||Where Are They Now?||Herself with Gerard Maguire, Val Lehman, Lynda Stoner & Lynne Hamilton||TV series, 1 episode|
|1998;2000||Good Morning Australia||Herself||TV series, 2 episodes|
|1998||The Day of the Roses||Greta||TV Miniseries (2 episodes)|
|1998||Medivac||Mrs. Ryan||TV series, Season 3 (guest, 1 episodes)|
|1998;2001||Blue Heelers||Gladys Fraser||TV series, Season 5 (guest, 1 episode)|
|1998||Misery Guts||Ticket Seller||TV series, Season 1 (guest, 1 episode)|
|1999||Queen Kat, Carmel & St Jude||Nance McCaffery||TV Miniseries (4 episodes)|
|2000||The Love of Lionel's Life||Mavis||TV movie|
|2001||Blue Heelers||Eunice Johnson||TV series, Season 8 (guest, 1 episode)|
|2003||(S)truth||Unknown role||TV Miniseries (3 shorts)|
|2004||Small Claims||Pamela||TV movie|
|2005||Small Claims: White Wedding||Pamela||TV movie|
|2006||Small Claims: The Reunion||Pamela||TV movie|
|2006||Where Are They Now||Herself with Amanda Muggleton, Peta Toppano & Val Lehman||TV series, 1 episode|
|2009||Heartbeat||Mrs Pike||TV series UK, Season 18 (guest, 2 episodes)|
|2011||A Current Affair||Herself with Elspeth Ballantyne, Fiona Spence, Patsy King & Val Lehman||TV series, 1 episode|
|2012||The Strange Calls||Gwen||ABC TV series, Season 1 (guest, 1 episode)|
|2013||The Morning Show||Herself with Fiona Spence, Patsy King & Val Lehman||TV series, 1 episode|
|2013||Reef Doctors||Mrs. Ogilvy||TV series, Season 1 (guest, 1 episode)|
Awards, honours and nominationsEdit
|Logie Awards||(Silver Logie) Best Lead Actress in a Series||1979||Prisoner (also known internationally as Prisoner: Cell Block H (USA and UK)and Caged Woman (Canada)||Won|
|Australian Film Institute||1994||Best Actress in a Guest Role in a Television Drama Series||Blue Heelers episode – "Deadly Fascination"||Nominated|
|Australian Film Institute||Best Actress in a Lead Role||1984||Strikebound||Nominated|
|Australian Film Institute||Best Actress in a Supporting Role||1977||The Mango Tree (1977)||Nominated|
|Queensland Actors Equity Award||Best Established Artist||2006||Honoured|
|Matilda Awards||Gold Matilda||2015 (posthumously)||Honoured|
|Actors' & Entertainers' Benevolent Fund -||Alan Edwards Lifetime Achievement Award||2003||Honoured|
- Lane, Richard (1991). Prisoner: Cell Block H. Thames Mandarin.
- "Vale: Carol Burns".
- Matthew Westwood. "Prisoner's Carol Burns loses cancer fight". The Australian.
- Hayward, Anthony (28 December 2015). "Carol Burns obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 December 2015.
- Mitchell-Whittington, Amy (22 December 2015). "Prisoner actor Carol Burns, Queensland Theatre Company founder, dies at 68". Brisbane Times. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
- The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams – Queensland Theatre Company
- "Australian Actress Carol Burns Passes Away at 68". Broadway World. 21 December 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
- "Vale: Carol Burns" (PDF). Queensland Theatre Company. 22 December 2015. Retrieved 25 December 2015.
- "Prisoner actor Carol Burns dies in Brisbane aged 68". ABC News. 22 December 2015. Retrieved 22 December 2015.
- "Awards | Actors' & Entertainers' Benevolent Fund of QLD Inc". Retrieved 8 April 2020.