World’s best to play for Diane

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - NEWS - PAUL MIL­TON BUT­LER

THE fam­ily of Academy Award-nom­i­nated ac­tress and Kar­nak The­atre founder Diane Cilento is plan­ning a con­cert fea­tur­ing some of the world’s best mu­si­cians as a trib­ute.

Diane passed away in Cairns Base Hos­pi­tal last Thurs­day af­ter bat­tling ill­ness, just one day af­ter her 78th birth­day.

Tributes have flooded in from around the world for the feisty the­atre and film ac­tress who was mar­ried to James Bond ac­tor Sean Con­nery for 11 years be­fore later re­treat­ing to Far North Queens­land to es­tab­lish her mag­i­cal Kar­nak The­atre.

Daugh­ter Gio­vanna Volpe yes­ter­day told the Gazette she and brother Ja­son Con­nery were very proud of their mother, in par­tic­u­lar her com­mit­ment and ded­i­ca­tion to the many causes she was in­volved in.

“I feel that her ded­i­ca­tion to the cul­tural scene in the Port Dou­glas and Moss­man re­gions re­ally was com­mend­able be­cause she could have eas­ily stayed liv­ing in Lon­don or any­where in the world for that mat­ter,” Gio­vanna said.

“I would also like to thank the peo­ple of Port Dou­glas and Moss­man for their pub­lic out­pour­ing of grief for our mother and thank them very much for their kind words we have re­ceived.”

Ms Volpe is in the early stages of plan­ning a free pub­lic trib­ute at Kar­nak head­lined by world-renowned pi­anist and Cilento sup­porter, David Helf­gott.

Moss­man’s Me­gan Barker worked along­side Diane at Kar­nak in re­cent years and lamented the pass­ing of one of the re­gion’s true icons.

“Kar­nak was built by Diane for our com­mu­nity and never has she worked harder than in the past eight months (since the de­struc­tion of Cy­clone Yasi) to en­sure its sur­vival.

“Next year will be the 20th an­niver­sary of Kar­nak The­atre and there could not be a more fit­ting a trib­ute to Diane than its con­tin­ued use.

“I think I speak for all of us when I say that her pass­ing brings the end of an era.

“To not see her tear­ing around on the the ride-on, or work­ing the spot­light dur­ing shows still seems a lit­tle un­real.

“Diane was a feisty, thought­ful, philo­soph­i­cal and de­ter­mined lady. We all learnt from her and will miss her bound­less pas­sion and en­ergy.”

Divi­sion 10 Coun­cil­lor Ju­lia Leu, who had lunch with Diane just two weeks ago, paid trib­ute to her friend.

“She was in great spir­its, hav­ing just re­turned from Mex­ico and we had a won­der­ful con­ver­sa­tion about the fu­ture sur­vival of Kar­nak,” she said.

“She was a warm and gen­er­ous friend who adored our environment and was pas­sion­ate about our iden­tity.

“She put Dou­glas on the map for arts and cul­ture and her legacy will al­ways be her fab­u­lous Kar­nak Play­house in the rain­for­est.”

More de­tails about the planned trib­ute con­cert will be re­vealed in next week’s Gazette.

Photo by NEIL WEAVERS

Tire­less: not even Cy­clone Yasi could slow down Diane Cilento

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