Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Writer and actress Edith Campion has died, aged 83.

Campion, a Member of the Order of the British Empire, was the mother of prominent New Zealand director Jane Campion and two other children, Michael and Anna.
She died at her home in Otaki on Sunday, supported by her children.
New Zealand Film Commission chief executive Ruth Harley said Campion was "undoubtedly the pre-eminent actress of New Zealand theatre in the 1950s".
She took a succession of leading roles in the New Zealand Players, the touring theatre company she co-founded with her husband, Richard Campion.
"Together, the Campions brought the highest standards of professional theatre to a fortunate generation of New Zealanders," Dr Harley said.

"Filmgoers will remember her memorable ... cameo role in the 1990 film An Angel at my Table, the first New Zealand film directed by her daughter Jane. "
Born on December 13, 1923, Campion, nee Hannah, shared a birthday with her husband and theatre director Richard, whom she married in 1945.
In 1952 they formed the New Zealand Players, which became a trust in 1956 and collapsed in 1960.
The couple divorced in 1987.

Born in Wellington, Campion was an orphan raised by a series governesses, who inherited a considerable fortune from her grandfather's shoe factory, Ellen Cheshire reported in her pocket essential guide to Jane Campion.
Campion was initially schooled at Queen Margaret's and Nga Tawa, before being privately educated from age 13.
She attended Wellington's Victoria University in 1943 and did an acting course at the Old Vic Theatre School in London in 1948.
She was a member of the Downstage Theatre Trust board.

As well as An Angel at my Table, her film work included The Audition, 1989, directed by her daughter Anna.
Campion's publications included A Place to Pass Through and Other Stories in 1977 and a novel, The Chain in 1979.
She had many stories and poems published in Islands, Landfall and the NZ Listener, as well as readings of her work on Radio New Zealand.
Her hobbies included reading, socialising and all animals - especially horses and cats.

A memorial service is being held on Friday after 3pm at The Winemakers Daughter, Te Horo.

Report from NZ Herald, 18 September.

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