Vale Wendy Hughes.

Wendy Hughes.

Australian actress Wendy Hughes has died aged 61.

The theatre, film and television actress is understood to have died of cancer in Sydney early on Saturday morning.

Born in Melbourne in 1952, Hughes had originally wanted to become a ballerina, but ended up graduating from NIDA and joining the Melbourne Theatre Company.

She had a long and successful career, spanning over 40 years. Some of her best known work included her film performances in My Brilliant Career, Careful, He Might Hear You, and Lonely Hearts. On television, she will be remembered for her performances in The Man From Snowy River and State Coroner.

Hughes was nominated for Australian Film Institute (now AACTA) awards six times, winning Best Lead Actress in 1983 for her role in Careful, He Might Hear You.

She leaves behind a daughter, Charlotte, with actor Chris Haywood, and a son, Jay, with restaurateur Patrick Juillet.

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