Frances Hargreaves, actress from the 1970s series Number 96, has died at the age of 62.
South African-born Hargreaves studied acting in London before settling in Sydney in 1973.
She had appeared in an ABC series, Behind The Legend, before scoring the part of Marilyn MacDonald in Number 96 in 1974.
The role of Marilyn, the daughter of Reg and Edie MacDonald (Mike Dorsey and Wendy Blacklock), was unexpected for Hargreaves as she had only been cast after Judy McBurney had to drop out after taping six episodes due to illness. The sudden change in casting required Marilyn’s early scenes to be re-recorded with Hargreaves.
“I can be diplomatic but things come out at the wrong time occasionally — and Marilyn is always doing it without realising,” Hargreaves told TV Times in 1974. “I’m a bright person like her. I giggle a lot and although I do have serious moments I enjoy myself, my work and meeting people.”
Marilyn became a pivotal character in the unveiling of the show’s infamous ‘pantyhose strangler’, a serial killer who had been keeping the residents of 96 on edge for weeks.
Hargreaves later left the series but returned for the show’s final year in 1977.
She later appeared in The Young Doctors and in the telemovie Who Killed Baby Azaria?
In 2007, Hargreaves was reunited with her former Number 96 cast mates on an episode of Where Are They Now?