Carol Burns, the actress best known for her performance as Franky Doyle in Prisoner, has died at Brisbane’s Princess Alexandra Hospital after a short battle with cancer. She was 68.
Born in Brisbane, Burns’ acting career began with the Queensland Theatre Company (QTC) in 1969, starring in many of its stage productions. Her most recent role with QTC was this year, playing the lead role of Winnie in Samuel Beckett‘s Happy Days.
Although she was an accomplished stage performer for ten years, it was 1978 before Burns made the move to television, starring in ABC dramas Loss Of Innocence and Run From The Morning. But it was her transformation into the aggressive, chain smoking, lesbian bikie Franky Doyle in Prisoner that had the biggest impact both here and overseas. She once described Franky as “a lost soul in a society where the bikie and the lesbian are misfits”.
Burns only stayed with Prisoner for its first 20 episodes, with her storylines later edited into two-hour telemovie The Franky Doyle Story, but her performance led to her winning a TV Week Logie Award in 1980 for Best Lead Actress In A Series.
Later television credits included Lucinda Brayford, Carson’s Law, The Dismissal, All The Rivers Run, Fire, Blue Heelers, The Day Of The Roses, Medivac, Small Claims, The Strange Calls and Reef Doctors. She also appeared in British dramas including Taggart, The Bill, Casualty and Heartbeat.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk paid tribute to Burns on social media: “Carol Burns was dedicated to the arts in Qld and leaves behind a legacy of passion & talent. My condolences to her family, friends & fans”.