TV

Home & Away's Ray Meagher reflects on Cornelia Frances' tragic death

'I was shocked!'

Given he's now 73, Ray Meagher could be forgiven for taking his foot off the pedal just a little.

The TV WEEK Gold Logie Award winner, famous for playing Alf Stewart in Home And Away, has achieved much in an acting career that spans more than 45 years.

This year, he's up for a Logie for Most Popular Actor – the third time he's been nominated in the category. It is, he acknowledges, "a very busy time".

But in the midst of the excitement about the Logie nomination there was something that really floored Ray: the recent death of his former Home And Away co-star – and Ray's long-time friend – Cornelia Frances.

Cornelia Frances passed away in May after a long battle with cancer.
Cornelia Frances passed away in May after a long battle with cancer.

The actress played Alf's sister Morag Bellingham on and off since the show started in 1988.

"It wasn't really a surprise," Ray says of Cornelia's passing. "But it's always a bit of shock when it [death] does come.

"We at Home And Away all feel the same, I think. She [Cornelia] was a delightful lady who lived life to the full and was a delight to be around. She's incredibly missed."

Ray with Cornelia (far right) and his other *Home and Away* 'sisters'  Lyn Collingwood and Fiona Spence.
Ray with Cornelia (far right) and his other Home and Away 'sisters' Lyn Collingwood and Fiona Spence.

Ray admits Cornelia's death has forced him to take stock and, without trying to sound morbid, remember we're not here forever.

"I think it's [her passing] a little reminder that life is fragile," he says, philosophically. "Life is very finite and you only have so much time on the planet.

"And if you go down that road and personalise those sorts of things, you start asking yourself: 'How much time have I got left and how would I like to spend it?'"

And how would he?

"I reckon I have at least 20 minutes left, so I'll probably have lunch!"

That's classic Ray – always back at you with a quip.

For more from Ray's interview, pick up a copy of this week's issue of TV WEEK.

read more from