Actress Lyn James, best known for The Young Doctors, has died in Sydney aged 87.
“Lyn was a very special lady with a heart of gold and it was my absolute privilege to have known her. She enriched my life, and the lives of many others through her kindness and generosity,” said manager Darren Gray.
Welsh-born James played hospital secretary Helen Gordon, mother of Nurse Jill Gordon (Joanna Samuel) on The Young Doctors on Nine. She was one of only 3 cast members, along with Tim Paige and Judy McBurney, to remain throughout the entire run of the soap from 1976 – 1983.
Helen Gordon was always on hand to give advice to the young doctors and nurses but was a little less successful at running her own life. She was engaged nine times, survived the attentions of a crazed handyman, contracted several near fatal diseases, and killed her lover’s son when she crashed the seaplane that she had been learning to fly. At one point James was even asked by members of the public at possible vacancies at the fictional Albert Memorial Hospital.
James moved to Australia in 1965 when husband Eric Tayler was offered an initial two year contract as a producer and director of ABC Drama, but they ended up staying.
Her body of screen work extends back to the UK in 1955. Other credits included Hunter, Homicide, Division 4, Matlock Police, Catwalk, The Emigrants, Certain Women, Contrabandits, Eden House, Silent Number, Ryan, The Evil Touch, Tully, Nichols Nickleby, Emergency Ward-10 and Case for the Defence.
Her stage career in Australia included the epic monologue Soldiering On in Talking Heads by Alan Bennett at The Ensemble Theatre which she described the experience as “scary but thrilling” and she received critical acclaim for her work on J B Priestley’s comedy When We Are Married at the Northside Theatre in Killara (later known as the Marian Street Theatre).