Diane Cilento, Australian theatre and film actress and author, has sadly passed away aged 79. During her distinguished life she could boast starring roles opposite icons such as Charlton Heston and Paul Newman, whilst she was also married to Sean Connery - her second of three marriages - for 11 years between 1962 and 1973.
The star passed away at Cairns Base Hospital near her home in Queensland, reports the BBC, just two days after her 79th birthday - no cause of death has as yet been given. Paying tribute to her, close friend and playwright MICHAEL GOW reflected that, "She kept us all hugely entertained until the day before yesterday, when she just couldn't manage anymore and we took her to hospital."
Cilento's Broadway breakthrough occurred in 1955 where she played Helen Of Troy in JEAN GIRADOUX's 'Tiger At The Gates,' a performance which earned her a TONY AWARD nomination. On the silver screen meanwhile she is perhaps best known for her role as Molly Seagrim in 1963 British adventure film 'Tom Jones.' That too saw her gain an award nomination, Best Supporting Actress at the Academy Awards; other films Cilento appeared in included 1965's 'The Agony And The Ecstacy' opposite Newman, and cult 1973 horror film 'The Wickerman' - during which she'd meet third husband, the film's script writer Anthony Shaffer.
In a statement Queensland State Premier ANNA BLIGH said, "While she was originally known as a glamorous international film star, her work in later years in the far north showed her commitment to the arts . I know that Ms Cilento will be sorely missed by many in the industry."