Australian television legend Penny Cook has died after a battle with cancer.
The A Country Practice star died overnight, her family said in a statement from her management company.
Cook’s family said their “beloved partner, mother, daughter, sister and dear friend” died peacefully.
“The family wish to express their thanks for all messages of condolence forwarded to them,” they said.
Cook was first on Aussie TV screens in the soap series The Restless Years.
She then played veterinarian Vicky Bowen in A Country Practice from 1981 to 1985, starring in 300 episodes.
The multiple Logie award winner was also known for her work on Australian drama The Flying Doctors, and spent a number of years as a presenter on The Great Outdoors.
Last year the actor said she was most recognised for her role as Vicky the Vet.
But she said people also stopped her because they were convinced they knew her from school.
She told The Wentworth Courier she found those people just as endearing as those who got it right, and was still very grateful to the show that jet-propelled her into the spotlight in her early 20s.
Cook stayed close friends with her on-screen husband Grant Dodwell, who attended her surprise 60th birthday in Paddington last year.
Most recently she played Carol Little in the ABC’s hospital drama Pulse and returned to the big screen in Aussie comedy The Merger, released in August.
Pulse was her first major television role after a number of years.
“What I loved about the show was it gave me confidence in myself again,” she told The Wentworth Courier.
“I came home to the family one day and said, ‘I just realised I do know stuff!’, which you forget.”
Cook leaves behind her daughter Poppy and husband David Lynch.
In recent times she looked after her ageing mother before her death and then watched over her stepmother with dementia.
In her hosting roles she has worked alongside the likes of former US president Bill Clinton and Prince Charles.
She told Starts at 60 she considered being called Vicky a “badge of honour”.
“I can’t understand how on earth they’d recognise me because I look far different, but the voice is the same,” she said.
“It is fun when they come up and say how much they loved the show, because we loved it too.”
TRIBUTES TO PENNY
Tributes have been flowing for the much-loved star, from celebrities and fans alike.
Television presenter and host of Studio 10 Angela Bishop wrote on Twitter: “To A Country Practice fans, she will always be Vicky the vet, but Penny Cook was a brilliant actor, director, storyteller and TV presenter as well as a passionate advocate for young people in the theatre”.
MP Tony Burke, a former minister and current manager of opposition business in the House of Representatives. said watching Cook perform was a huge privilege: “One of our great actors, telling yet another Australian story, at the theatre dedicated to our stories that Penny helped found. RIP”.
TV presenter Meshel Laurie said Cook was an “icon” for a generation: “Vicki the vet, I love you so much”.
I was fortunate enough to have Penny Cook play my mother on All Saints. She was one of the most generous, caring and humble actors I’ve ever had the chance to work with. I’m so saddened by this news. My thoughts are with Poppy and David at this sad time. RIP Penny Xxx
— Robert Jago (@robert_jago) December 27, 2018
Vicki the vet, I love you so much. Dragged stuffy Simon from the city back down to Earth, taught him to love the valley. He was a massive wanker, in his crisp moleskins and Toorak bob, thought of you just yesterday as I drove through Wandin, an icon for a generation Penny Cook.
— Meshel Laurie (@Meshel_Laurie) December 27, 2018
Watching Penny Cook perform a few months ago in The Almighty Sometimes at The Griffin Theatre in Sydney was a huge privilege. One of our great actors, telling yet another Australian story, at the theatre dedicated to our stories that Penny helped found. RIP
— Tony Burke (@Tony_Burke) December 27, 2018
What a loss. I saw Penny Cook earlier this year in The Almighty Sometimes at @griffintheatre. She was brilliant (as we’re the entire cast). There was a lot more to her career than A Country Practice (mush as I loved it). pic.twitter.com/v1Rs983osZ
— Emma Cooper (@emmackat) December 27, 2018
Originally published as Australian TV treasure dies