Zoe Caldwell, the four-time Tony Award-winning Australian actress, has died at 86 due to complications from Parkinson’s disease. She was widely regarded as one of the foremost stage actors of the last century.
Zoe Caldwell as Maria Callas in Master Class
Born September 14, 1933 in Hawthorn, Victoria, Caldwell’s professional career began at age nine when she appeared as one of the Lost Boys in Peter Panat the Tivoli. As a child actor, she appeared in amateur theatre shows as well as radio serials, and in 1953 joined the first professional fortnightly rep company in Australia, the Union Theatre Repertory Company. Now the Melbourne Theatre Company, Caldwell’s first appearance with the ensemble was in the title role of Jean Anouilh’s Colombe, the Union Theatre’s inaugural production. She next joined the newly formed Elizabethan Theatre Trust until, in 1958, she received a scholarship to travel to England to work at the Stratford Memorial Theatre.
Caldwell returned to Australia in 1962 to play the lead role in Bernard Shaw’s Saint Joanat the Adelaide Festival. Her performance caught the attention of Patrick White, who approached her for the role of Nola Boyle in his new work...