Mary Ward death – Prisoner: Cell Block H actor dies aged 106

Ward had been described as Australia’s oldest living actor before her death in a Melbourne care facility

Louis Chilton
Monday 19 July 2021 12:12
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<p>Mary Ward as “Mum” Brookes in ‘Prisoner: Cell Block H'</p>

Mary Ward as “Mum” Brookes in ‘Prisoner: Cell Block H'

Australian stage and screen actor Mary Ward has died at the age of 106.

Ward was best known for her role as Jeanette “Mum” Brooks in the 1979-1981 prison drama Prisoner: Cell Block H (titled simply Prisoner in its native Australia).

According to her family, she died peacefully on Monday (19 July) morning at a care facility in Melbourne.

Born on 6 March, 1915, Ward studied acting in Perth and London, returning to Australia at the onset of the Second World War.

She became one of the ABC’s first female radio announcers, finding some amount of fame through her broadcasts to the Australian armed forces.

Later, she joined the Melbourne Theatre Company, appearing in several stage productions in the subsequent years.

She was also known for her work in soap operas, and appeared in projects including Sons and Daughters, Neighbours, and Young Doctors.

Ward retired from acting in 2010 at the age of 95.

Ward’s nephew Mark Breheny told TV Tonight: “She led a remarkable life and spent her final years much loved and supported by family and friends – not to mention the occasional Prisoner fan, many of whom who still wrote to her.”

“She really was very much ahead of her time in the pre-war period – an independent, career-minded woman who set off overseas on her own to make her mark. And that she surely did.”

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