Vale: Penny Cook

Much-loved actress Penny Cook, best known for dramas including A Country Practice and E Street, has died aged 61.

In a statement released via her management company, Cook’s family said she died of cancer last night.

Cook’s family said their “beloved partner, mother, daughter, sister and dear friend” died peacefully.

“The family wish to express their thanks for all messages of condolence forwarded to them.”

A NIDA trained actor, Cook first appeared in Skyways and  The Restless Years in 1979 followed by The Flying Doctors.

But it was as veterinarian Vicky Bowen in A Country Practice that she would make her mark on Australian television from 1981 to 1985, marrying Grant Dodwell’s Dr. Simon Bowen. They remained lifelong friends.

That led to roles as E Street‘s Dr. Elly Fielding from 1989 to 1991, before being replaced by Diane Craig.

Other credits included Neighbours, All Saints, Young Lions, GP, Joh’s Jury, Rake, Dance Academy, Laid and in ABC’s 2017 drama Pulse as Head Nurse Carol. She most recently completed the film The Merger.

She was also a presenter on The Great Outdoors.

Cook also had a long involvement in the theatre both as an actress and director. In 1979 she helped to form the Griffin Theatre Company (Sydney) for which she performed numerous times. She has also appeared for the Sydney Theatre Company, the Queensland Theatre Company, Northside (Marian Street) Theatre Company, and in several national tours including Sir Peter Hall’s production of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband, and in the John Bell / Richard Tognetti production of The Solder’s Tale with the Australian Chamber Orchestra.


Source: ABC.,


  1. I was only talking to my brother recently about A Country Practise and he said ‘there are no decent shows on TV anymore’. RIP Penny Cook, too young to pass away….

  2. Nice work on the story, David.
    One thing the 11-year-olds writing about TV in the major news outlets overlooked is that Penny was indeed in E-Street – a series that she was the lead star and which was created around her character of Elly. And that kicked Aussie drama into a new direction through the 1990s.
    Penny was always hard at work behind the scenes, most particularly at the Griffin Theatre Company. I recall going to interview her one day at the height of her TV fame, and when I met up her at the theatre, she had spent the morning sweeping the space out. She knew what hard work was all about, and just got in and did it. She was one to learn from. Vale Penny.

  3. Oh, I’m so sorry to hear about Penny – didn’t realise she had been ill.
    I have very fond memories of her as Vicky the vet in Country Practice.
    Used to love that show and never missed an episode.
    Very sad – she was too young to leave us..

  4. daveinprogress

    A terrible loss and way way too young. Penny was so lively on screen in The Restless Years and of course the other shows that helped make her one of Australia’s best loved actresses. She was quite unique. And talented. Very sad.

  5. Reading this David has actually made me cry…I have fond memories of Simon and Vicky in A Country Practice (I was only 8 or 9 at the time but I remember their wombat Fatso)….RIP Penny Cooke. One of my favourite actors growing up…

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