The actress passed away following a stroke.
“Mum had a massive stroke on Wednesday (November 25th) night and is now in palliative care. She is not expected to recover. We are hugely devastated and are struggling to come to terms with such a sudden event.” – family statement on social media
A family statement announced on November 27th Betty had suffered a stroke and was unlikely to recover, today (November 30th) the news was given that the performer had passed away aged 81.
A long television, big screen and theatre career found her a loyal following of fans, however, it was the trailblazing role of lesbian Judy Bryant in Prisoner that Betty became best known for in both Australia and the UK.
Appearing from 1980 to 1985 Bobbitt became the show’s second-longest serving regular with 429 episodes in total.
The Grundy produced twice-weekly saga proved a success for Network 10 and was also screened on local stations across America from 1979 – with a national showing from 1985 on cable channel USA Network.
The Cell Block H regulars reunite for Neighbours in 2019, pictured outside the Global Television studios which doubled as the Wentworth Detention Centre. The former Network 10 complex remains the home of Neighbours.
The series became cult viewing on ITV in the UK in the mid-1980s, although the saga was, like America, initially screened at different times and days across the network with episodes at different parts of the plot – some months out, some areas years behind – depending on where in the UK viewers were watching.
It wasn’t until 1997 and the launch of Channel 5 that Brits got to see the series at the same time across the UK, by this point Betty Bobbitt and the cast had become ‘soap icons’ in Britain with a major fan club, stage show and cast conventions drawing in 1000s of fans across the UK.
As well as Cell Block H Betty also appeared in other Australian classics including Matlock Police, Homicide, A Country Practice, The Flying Doctors, All Saints, Marshall Law and Blue Heelers.
Last year she featured briefly in Neighbours in a couple of scenes paying homage to Prisoner with Ramsay Street regulars – and ex-Cell Block H cast – Colette Mann and Jackie Woodburne reunited with Betty along with Jane Clifton, Jentah Sobott and Jenny Lovell. The book club story featuring the actresses marked the 40th anniversary of Prisoner’s launch.
Born in Manhattan, New York in 1939 Betty moved to Australia in the sixties.
“Sadly Mum passed away this morning at 10:20am after 5 nights in hospital. She was peaceful and in no pain. Thank you for your support” – family statement on social media