Diane Cilento

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Diane Cilento
Diane Cilento, 1954.jpg
Diane Cilento in 1954
Born(1933-10-05)5 October 1933
Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia
Died6 October 2011(2011-10-06) (aged 78)
Cairns, Queensland, Australia
OccupationActress, author
Years active1950–2011
Spouse(s)Andrea Volpe
(m. 1956–1960; divorced)
Sean Connery
(m. 1962–1973; divorced)
Anthony Shaffer
(m. 1985–2001; his death)
ChildrenGiovanna Volpe
Jason Connery
ParentsRaphael Cilento
Phyllis Cilento
 
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Diane Cilento
Diane Cilento, 1954.jpg
Diane Cilento in 1954
Born(1933-10-05)5 October 1933
Mooloolaba, Queensland, Australia
Died6 October 2011(2011-10-06) (aged 78)
Cairns, Queensland, Australia
OccupationActress, author
Years active1950–2011
Spouse(s)Andrea Volpe
(m. 1956–1960; divorced)
Sean Connery
(m. 1962–1973; divorced)
Anthony Shaffer
(m. 1985–2001; his death)
ChildrenGiovanna Volpe
Jason Connery
ParentsRaphael Cilento
Phyllis Cilento

Diane Cilento (5 October 1933 – 6 October 2011[1]) was an Australian theatre and film actress and author.[2]

Biography[edit]

Early life and education[edit]

Cilento's parents, Sir Raphael Cilento[3] and Phyllis, Lady Cilento,[4] were both distinguished medical practitioners in Queensland.[2]

At an early age she decided to follow a career as an actress and, after being expelled from school in Australia, she schooled in New York while living with her father. She later won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and moved to England in the early 1950s.[5]

Career[edit]

After graduation, Cilento found work on stage almost immediately and was signed to a five-year contract by Sir Alexander Korda. Her first leading role in a movie was in the British film Passage Home (1955), opposite fellow Australian Peter Finch.[6]

She soon secured roles in British films and worked steadily until the end of the decade. In 1956, Cilento was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Dramatic) for Helen of Troy in Jean Giraudoux's Tiger at the Gates.

She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her performance in Tom Jones in 1963[7] and appeared in The Third Secret the following year, but she allowed her film career to decline following her marriage to actor Sean Connery, the second of her three husbands, to whom she was married from 1962 to 1973. They had one son, the actor Jason Connery. She also had a daughter, Giovanna, with her first husband.

In Connery's James Bond film You Only Live Twice, she doubled for her husband's co-star Mie Hama in a diving scene because Hama was indisposed.[8]

She starred with Charlton Heston in the 1965 film The Agony and the Ecstasy, and with Paul Newman in the 1967 western film Hombre.

In 1985, Cilento married Anthony Shaffer, a playwright, who wrote the script of The Wicker Man; she met him when she appeared in the film in 1973, and he joined her when she returned to Queensland in 1975.

Cilento continued working as an actress, both in films and in television and, in the 1980s, settled in Mossman, north of Cairns, where she built her own outdoor theatre, named "Karnak", in the tropical rainforest. The venture allowed her to participate in experimental drama.[citation needed]

In 2006, Cilento released her autobiography, My Nine Lives.[9]

In 2001, she was awarded the Centenary Medal, for "distinguished service to the arts, especially theatre".[10]

Personal life[edit]

Family[edit]

Parents
Siblings

Diane Cilento was the fifth of six children, four of whom became medical practitioners, and the other, Margaret, was an artist.[11][5]

Husbands and children
HusbandChildren
1956–1960AndreaGiovanna (Gigi) Volpe (10 December 1957–)[12]
1962–1973[13]Sean Connery (1930–)Jason Connery (11 January 1963–)[14]
1985–2001Anthony Shaffer
(1926–2001)
In 1975, Shaffer made his home in Queensland with Cilento. They married in 1985.
Cilento was Shaffer's third wife; he had two daughters from a previous marriage.[15][16]

In her 2006 autobiography My Nine Lives and elsewhere, Cilento said that Sean Connery physically abused her. [17]

Death[edit]

Diane Cilento died of cancer[18] at Cairns Base Hospital on 6 October 2011, the day after her 78th birthday.[19] She is survived by both her children.[18] A collection of items from her estate was donated to the Queensland University of Technology and is housed in the library.[20]

Filmography[edit]

Writings[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Peter Keepnews (8 October 2011). "Diane Cilento, Oscar-Nominated Actress, Dies at 78". The New York Times. 
  2. ^ a b Brief Biography: Diane Cilento, Australian Biography (SBS TV), 2000.
  3. ^ a b Mark Finnane, 'Cilento, Sir Raphael West (Ray) (1893–1985)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 17, Melbourne University Press, pp. 216–17.
  4. ^ a b Mary D. Mahoney, 'Cilento, Phyllis Dorothy (1894–1987)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 17, Melbourne University Press, pp. 214–15.
  5. ^ a b Interview transcript tape 1: Diane Cilento, Australian Biography (SBS TV), 2000.
  6. ^ "MARIAN MARCH PAGE.". The Advertiser (Adelaide, SA : 1931 - 1954) (Adelaide, SA: National Library of Australia). 23 November 1954. p. 16. Retrieved 11 February 2012. 
  7. ^ Academy Awards Database, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, 1963
  8. ^ Lisenti, Tom; Louis Paul (2002). Film fatales: women in espionage films and television, 1962–1973. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company. p. 144. ISBN 0-7864-1194-5. 
  9. ^ McFarlane, Brian: Book Review: My Nine Lives, The Age, 29 April 2006.
  10. ^ It's an Honour
  11. ^ The Telegraph, 19 January 2007; Retrieved 3 April 2013
  12. ^ How they live The Australian Women's Weekly 2 July 1958 p.21
  13. ^ Australian actress Diane Cilento dies aged 78
  14. ^ Surprise gift for Diane The Australian Women's Weekly 25 December 1968 p.2 – Contains photo of Sean, Gigi, Jason and Diane
  15. ^ Obituary: Anthony Shaffer, 8 November 2001, The Guardian
  16. ^ "Playwright's family fight off mistress's claim to share legacy", 10 February 2004, The Guardian
  17. ^ Scott, Paul. "Sean Connery: The story of a brilliant but deeply flawed man". Daily Mail (London). 
  18. ^ a b Guardian obituary
  19. ^ Actress Diane Cilento dies, 7 October 2011, ABC News
  20. ^ The Cilento Gift

External links[edit]