The first woman to appear on television in Melbourne dies at age 92
Mary Parker, a pioneer of Australian television, has died at the age of 92.
Parker was the first woman to appear on TV in Melbourne in 1956 when she started her ground-breaking role as an anchor for Channel HSV-7, Melbourne’s first TV station.
It came at a time when women were seen as ‘not talented enough’ to be news readers.
Parker went on to present the station’s bulletins with co-hosts Eric Pearce and Danny Webb and helm Seven’s TV coverage of the Melbourne Olympic Games.
At the time, Parker’s high-profile role put Australia at the forefront of TV news presentation. The UK’s BBC did not introduce a national news reader until 1960.
Mary Parker, a pioneer of Australian television, has died at the age of 92
In a statement to TV Tonight, Parker’s family announced the beloved TV legend died in hospital last weekend after a short illness.
Born in the UK in 1930, Parker started acting at age 21.
She worked in British TV and feature films, starring alongside Hollywood legends Boris Karloff, Douglas Fairbanks, Jr, and the Lloyd Bridges.
Parker came to Australia as a child and returned once her career in England was established.
Parker was the first woman to appear on TV in Melbourne in 1956 when she started her ground-breaking role as an anchor for Channel HSV-7, Melbourne’s first TV station
She hosted popular TV shows including Beauty is My Business, Eric and Mary, and Guest of the Week.
Parker, who was known as the ‘British Debbie Reynolds’, also appeared in the Aussie soap Blue Heelers when she was in her 70s.
In 1957, Parker married Paul Fitzgerald, an artist known for his portraits of Queen Elizabeth II, Pope John XXIII and Gone With the Wind star, Vivien Leigh.
The couple shared seven children and Paul died in 2017, aged 94.
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