Dunedin-born actress Dame Pat Evison, who was best known for her Australian roles as Jessie Windom in Prisoner and Violet Carnegie in The Flying Doctors, has died aged 85. She also played Mrs Telford in the landmark New Zealand 1970s drama series Pukemanu, a role that the show’s creator, Julian Dickon, said made her recognised as that character all over the country. She also featured in the popular Close to Home series. She was among the first New Zealand theatre students to receive an overseas scholarship, moving to Britain in the 1940s to study as a director at the London’s Old Vic Theatre Centre. She later became an assistant director with the Young Vic Theatre Company. Dame Pat acted in a number of early productions at Wellington’s Downstage Theatre. Her performance in the Samuel Beckett play Happy Days was described by director Bruce Mason as the “finest event in New Zealand theatre”. She was awarded an OBE in 1980 for her services to the theatre and was made a dame in 1993.
Pat Evison: 2 June 1924 – 30 May 2010