On the 1st of December 2018 a beautiful living angel left this place. Judy McBurney was one of the loveliest souls to bless us. An actress, a model, a teacher, my mentor in Sydney and much more, Miss McBurney has a special place in the Australian arts and a special place in many peoples hearts.
As one of my teachers when I first won a modelling course with Miss June Dally Watkins, we became friends years later and work colleagues too. Judy had a kind word to say about everyone. And in her melodic voice, she could lift your spirits and nurture you with her beautiful big blue eyes.
One of my first recollections was that I mistakenly thought she was Goldie Hawn. I knew her face was recognisable. Her voice was soft spoken and distinct. As a young 15 year old, I was hooked on shows Home And Away and Neighbours. Judy's longest running character was as Young Doctors Nurse Tania Livingston. We had such fun learning about TV commercials, screen acting and VOX from one of Sydney's most consistently working actors of many Australian productions. The TVS Judy starred in, were considered the cornerstone of Australian drama.
A list of some of the more memorable roles Judy appeared in:
Always Greener – Yvonne Greenhill (2002) [Seven Network]
Home and Away – Audrey Orchard (1993) [Seven Network]
A Country Practice – Samantha Harrison (1984) [JNP Productions]
Prisoner aka Prisoner Cell Block H – Pixie Mason (1983-1985) [Grundy Television]
The Young Doctors – Tania Livingston (1977-1983) [Grundy Television]
Number 96 – Jodi (1977) [Cash Harmon Television]
Bluey – Janey (1976) / Sandra Gibson (1977) [Crawford]
Homicide – Joan Thompson (1976) / Yvette (1977) [Crawford]
Obsession "Error of Judgement" – Ruth (1976) [ABC]
The Box – Jane Fowler (1975-1976) [Crawford Production]
Bellbird (1975) [ABC]
Ben Hall – Rebecca /Alison Buchanan (1975) [ABC/BBC]
Behind the Legend (Episode C. J. Dennis) - Waitress (1975) [ABC]
Seven little Australians – Aldith MacCarthy (1973) [ABC / Ether Turner Production]
The Spoiler (1972) [Gemini Productions]
The Cousin from Fiji – Ella Belairs (1972) [ABC]
Catwalk – Marit Schemmler (1972) [Morphett-Davies Production]
Barrier Reef – Annette Conway (1971) [Fauna Productions]
What for Marianne? aka Vision Escalator (1971) [ABC] (TV Movie)
Chimes at Midnight (1970) [ABC] (TV play)
Eden House - Girl at the pub (1970) [ABC] (TV play)
Schwanda the Bagpiper (1970) [ABC] (Television Opera Production)
The Link Men (1970) [Nine Network]
People in Conflict [Seven Network]
Marriage Confidential [Seven Network]
Modelling was also a big part of Judy's early career and one of the reasons she was such a valuable teacher and asset to Miss Dally. Miss Dally took Judy under her wing as a young lady and helped Judy's career blossom. Miss Dally did the same for me. Judy would sit in the staff room at lunch and we'd have deep conversations about life, the arts and her darling cats. Judy always made me feel special and accepted. Often she would say that we were kindred spirits.
As a student of Miss Dally, I was taught voice, TV commercials, acting and modelling. Judy taught all of those classes and she taught me much more than that too. As a healer later in her life, she helped me find my way and would speak to me as an equal, never anything less. She is an inspiration and I hope her legacy lives on at Reel Management.
This is where I first understood that it was ok to look at different facets of the performing arts industry. Not to put all focus and energy on just one aspect but that you needed to develop an all-around self awareness. Judy, Judy, Judy. Thinking of you now and sending gratitude, love and light. I am so grateful to have known you for the brief time you were here. Forever in my heart, Vale Miss McBurney.