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Last Updated: Monday, 2 August, 2004, 11:28 GMT 12:28 UK
Prisoner Cell Block H star dies
Margo McLennan
McLennan played an inmate and an officer in Prisoner Cell Bock H
Actress Margo McLennan, who starred in Australian soap Prisoner Cell Block H, has died aged 66.

The performer, who played inmate Catherine Roberts in the cult soap, died at her home in Colgate, West Sussex, after a battle with cancer.

McLennan appeared in 1960s British TV series Night Train To Surbiton and Ransom For A Pretty Girl before moving to Australia.

She had a second stint in Prisoner in the 1980s as prison officer Parsons.

Ice skater

She was born Eileen Marguerite McMenemy in an off-licence in south London, and originally trained to be an ice skater.

Changing her name to Margo Mayne, she went on to play a succession of glamorous characters in television shows The Gentle Killers, Motive For Murder, Danger Man and The Man From Interpol.

In the mid-1960s she appeared in science fiction movie Spaceflight IC-1.

In 1979 McLennan's first Prisoner Cell Block H character, Catherine Roberts, was sent to prison after running over her screen daughter's rapist. Her return to the series as Officer Parsons was limited to three episodes.

Margo's philosophy was always that life is a party, and she made it so to the very end
Barbara Whatley
McLennan's final acting role took place in last year's film Prisoner Queen, about a waiter obsessed with Prisoner Cell Block H.

Actress Barbara Whatley said: "Margo's philosophy was always that life is a party, and she made it so to the very end.

"Even in the last days of her illness, she had all her friends around her, even though she had lost the power of speech."

McLennan, who also acted as a celebrant for gay marriages through a UK firm, returned to Britain with her second husband, Australian actor Rod McLennan, after learning she had cancer.

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