World’s best to play for Diane
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.
Tireless: not even Cyclone Yasi could slow down Diane Cilento