An actress from the hit TV series Prisoner, which ran from 1979 to 1986, has died after signing her last autograph just three weeks ago.
An actress from the hit TV series Prisoner, which ran from 1979 to 1986, has died after signing her last autograph just three weeks ago.

Actress from TV hit series Prisoner dies

Australian actress Joy Westmore, who starred in the hit TV series Prisoner as well as appearing alongside Graham Kennedy in The Odd Angry Shot, has died aged 88.

Westmore's daughter Emily said her mother received fan mail as recently as Thursday for her role as "screw" officer Joyce Barry in Prisoner.

The hit series was the inspiration for the hot TV series Wentworth, which appears on Foxtel's Showcase channel.

Prisoner star Joy Westmore (left) with Elspeth Ballantyne in a scene from the hit TV series Prisoner. Westmore has died, aged 88. Picture: Channel 7
Prisoner star Joy Westmore (left) with Elspeth Ballantyne in a scene from the hit TV series Prisoner. Westmore has died, aged 88. Picture: Channel 7

She said her mother was in ailing health and passed away in an aged-care facility in Melbourne on Thursday.

"She makes me very proud," Emily told NCA NewsWire.

"She received fan mail yesterday from Ireland and signed her last autograph three weeks ago."

One of Westmore's first TV roles was on The Sullivans, while she also appeared on Bellbird, Blue Heelers and in Australian movies such Summerfield, The Odd Angry Shot and Les Patterson Saves The World in which she played Lady Gwen Patterson.

However, she is most fondly remembered for her role as Officer Barry in more than 240 episodes of Prisoner. Her character went on to marry prison chef Merv Pringle played by Ernie Bourne.

"She loved that role," Emily said.

Entertainment reporter Peter Ford said Westmore's credits date back to the 50s when she performed comedy with Barry Humphries, whose alter ego is Dame Edna.

"She was first a lovely person and in between being a wife and mum to four kids she notched up some great credits to her name," he said.

Joy Westmore played Officer Joyce Barry for more than 240 episodes of Prisoner. Picture: Supplied
Joy Westmore played Officer Joyce Barry for more than 240 episodes of Prisoner. Picture: Supplied

He said she played the role of overly nice Officer Barry perfectly.

"Officer Joyce Barry was possibly the world's worst prison officer, but she provided some comic relief in the show," Mr Ford said.

"Officer Barry was way too nice and trusting of prisoners and repeatedly paid the price.

One of her last TV roles was on Blue Heelers, and towards the end of her career she was a voice-over artist, Emily said.

Originally published as Actress from TV hit series Prisoner dies


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