Saturday, October 8, 2011

Diane Cilento

Diane Cilento, the actress, who died on Thursday aged 78, appeared in films, television shows and stage productions, but was perhaps best known as the first wife of the actor Sean Connery.

Her heyday came in the late 1950s and 1960s, with her most memorable film part being that of Molly Seagrim, the lewd gamekeeper’s wench in Tony Richardson’s 1963 production of Henry Fielding’s Tom Jones.

Throughout her life, one Australian newspaper noted in 2006, Diane Cilento was sustained by a mix of rebelliousness, humour, independence and spirituality. Her try-anything-once approach included an early job modelling sports clothes in a Brisbane shop, playing bit parts in films and on television, and riding an elephant in a circus. “I wore the traditional fishnet stockings, incredibly high heels, a bum-revealing little green flared skirt, a pillbox hat and gloves that were shocking pink and sequinned,’’ she recalled of the circus gig.

In 2001 she was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal for “distinguished service to the arts, especially theatre”.

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