Wendy Playfair

Wendy Playfair (born 28 August 1926)[1] is an Australian radio, television and film actress, best known for her role as the Barbara Cartland-style elderly Minnie Donovan in the television series Prisoner, complete with pink outfits and prissy classy accent in 1983 and 1984,[2] and guest roles as Audrey Long and Evelyn Grey in Home and Away in 2005 and 2009.[3]

Playfair was born in Woollahra, New South Wales to Edmund Strathmore Creer (Strath) Playfair (1894–1965) and Kathleen Ryrie (Babs) née Campbell (1899–1989).[4] She was the third of four sisters. Eve and Judy were born before her and Susan (now Lady Atwill) was born after her.[5] The Playfair family were well-to-do, socially prominent[6] and in the meat trade.[7] She was educated at Ascham School in Edgecliff, New South Wales[8] and married James Williams at All Saints Woollahra Anglican Church in 6 July, 1951.[9]

In radio she worked for the ABC and consistently in morning serials for Grace Gibson, as well as in many radio plays. Playfair received a Macquarie Award. Playfair has been a staple on the small screen since 1962, in series such as Homicide, Hunter, The Young Doctors, Return to Eden, A Country Practice (three roles) and All Saints (two roles). Her film credits include "Ride a Wild Pony", the only Walt Disney film ever produced in Australia. Playfair's most recent television appearance was in Packed to the Rafters in 2013.


Year Title Role
1962Funnel Web (TV movie)
1967-1968Homicide (TV series) Jennifer Chandler - Ann Radford
1968Hunter (TV series) Mrs. West
1971Three to GoMother (Segment: Judy)
1973Matlock Police (TV series)Ethel Parker
1974The Evil Touch
1974Things That Go Bump in the Night (TV series)Audrey
1975Ride a Wild PonyMrs. Quayle
1977Say You Want Me (TV movie)
1978Bit Part (TV movie)Emma
1978Shimmering Light (TV movie)Gwen Stuart
1978Father, Dear Father in Australia (TV series)Mrs. Trown
1979Glenview High (TV series)
1980The Young Doctors (TV series)Mrs Steele
1981Bellamy (TV series)Milly
1983-1984Prisoner (TV series)Minnie Donovan
1985FortressOld Woman
1986Return to Eden (TV series)Rena MCMaster
1982-1992A Country PracticeGwen Bowman - Val Jackson - Lillian Palmer
1993Terra Nullius (film short)
1994Cody: Bad Love (TV movie)Mrs. Unwin
1997Big Sky (TV series)Mrs. Toohey
2002Don't Blame the Koalas (TV series)Mrs. Smythe
2000-2003All Saints (TV series)Hannah "Bubba" Rosen - Gloria Mayberry
2005-2009Home and Away (TV series)Mrs Grey - Audrey Long
2009Accidents HappenMrs. Smolensky
2010The TreeAunt Harriet
2010Spirited (TV series)Geisella McKenzie
2010Rake (TV series) Elspeth
2011Laid (TV series)Old Lady
2013Packed to the Rafters (TV series)Moira Beckett


  1. "Family Notices". The Sydney Morning Herald. 30 August 1926. p. 10. Retrieved 27 June 2014 via National Library of Australia.
  2. Prisoner Character List Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  3. Back to the bay Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  4. Playfair Family Retrieved 27 June 2014.
  5. "MANY FAMILY PARTIES YESTERDAY". The Sydney Morning Herald. 26 December 1940. p. 2. Retrieved 27 June 2014 via National Library of Australia.
  6. "Sydney's Talking About—". The Sydney Morning Herald. 26 December 1946. p. 8. Retrieved 27 June 2014 via National Library of Australia.
  7. "Playfair estate to family". The Canberra Times. 26 October 1966. p. 13. Retrieved 27 June 2014 via National Library of Australia.
  8. Simpson, Caroline Fairfax; Dupree, Annette Fielding-Jones; Ferguson, Betty Winn (1986), Ascham remembered, 1886-1986, Fine Arts Press, ISBN 978-0-86917-013-7
  9. "They're Set Their Wedding Dates". The Sunday Herald. Sydney. 27 May 1951. p. 18. Retrieved 27 June 2014 via National Library of Australia.

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