Vale: Michael Laurence

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Writer Michael Laurence, best known for creating Return to Eden, has died aged 79.

He died last week following a long illness.

He began his professional career as a child actor in Sydney radio, before winning a two year scholarship at London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. He worked as an actor in the UK and Australia, including at Sydney’s Philip Theatre and the Melbourne Theatre Company.

His writing credits include The Godfathers (including all 72 episodes for Nine), The People Next Door, Number 96, The Lost Islands, The Young Doctors, The Last Frontier, Shadow of the Cobra and Which Way Home.

But it was the crocodile-saga Return to Eden, starring James Reyne and Rebecca Gilling, that was his biggest hit, with bumper ratings and overseas sales, particularly in France where it has been shown thirteen times. It still enjoys repeats all over the world. Nine recently flirted with the idea of a remake for the melodrama.

Laurence created several projects for McElroy and McElroy, including Which Way Home, with Cybill Shepherd and John Waters plus The Last Frontier with Linda Evans and Jason Robards.

Early acting credits include Homicide, The Long Arm, The Godfathers, The Spoiler, and The People Next Door.

Writing for IF, David Macdonald writes, “Michael Laurence was a one off. A very funny man, and great raconteur whom his friends will remember with joy. Australia has lost a rare talent.”

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