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Everybody's Good Neighbour

Inside Soap, Issue 130, 9 July 1999

Steven Murphy pays tribute to the late Anne Haddy ...

Anne Haddy, loved by millions of fans as Neighbours' Helen Daniels, passed away on 6 June, aged 68, after a long battle with cancer and kidney disease. Her husband and one-time Neighbours co-star James Condon was by her side.

Helen, the woman teenagers all over the world wished could be their grandmother, was only one of many roles in a career that spanned almost 50 years.

The actress was bitten by the acting bug while in her teens when she would invent characters and produce plays with friends, and made her professional acting debut, aged 18, on South Australian radio. Anne moved to the UK at the age of 23 in the hope of finding acting work, but instead ended up working for Kellogg's as a secretary. It was during this period that she met her first husband. Max Dimmitt, and soon after they returned to Australia.

Back in her homeland, Anne's career began to take off. She was one of the first presenters of Australian Play School and went on to star in classic Aussie drama series such as Sons and Daughters, Prisoner, The Young Doctors and Skippy The Bush Kangaroo. Her career also spanned film, including appearances in A Town Like Alice and Hostile Witness.

Despite her professional success, Anne was dogged by ill hea1th through most of her later life. She suffered a heart attack in 1979 and four heart bypass operations followed. Shortly after her first bypass, she fell and broke her hip. She was later diagnosed with stomach cancer. Then, following a hip replacement op in 1996, Anne suffered kidney problems which forced her to make the heartbreaking decision to quit the show she loved so much.

"It's been a huge decision for me," she said at the time. "I've played Helen for such a large part of my life. It's hard to leave her behind."

Anne went into retirement with her second husband, James Condon, who twice played a love interest of Helen's in Neighbours, the second time as her husband Reuben White.

Loved and respected by all she worked with, Anne will be much missed by friends, colleagues and viewers around the world.

"'I learned so much from her," says Kylie Minogue, who first found fame as Charlene Mitchell on the show in 1987 and was one of the many young Neighbours actors Anne took under her wing during her 14 years in the show. "She was such a hard worker, a formidable presence on Australian television. It was a pleasure working with her."

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