We’re sad to report the passing of actor Joanna Dunham. Gerry Anderson fans will know her as Anna Bowen in the 1975 TV pilot The Day After Tomorrow (Into Infinity) which was recently shown in the UK on BBC Four, and the 1976 episode of Space: 1999 – Missing Link where she played Vana.
Outside of the Gerry Anderson universe, she played Mary Magdalene in the Hollywood blockbuster The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), directed by George Stevens, with Max von Sydow as Jesus and Charlton Heston as Pontius Pilate. She had been recommended to Stevens for the role by Marilyn Monroe, who had seen her performance as Juliet on tour with the Old Vic in New York in 1962, after she had taken over from Judi Dench in Franco Zeffirelli’s production.
When acting parts started drying up, she resumed her first love of painting, mostly landscape and still life, at her home in Sternfield, near Saxmundham in Suffolk, where she lived with her second husband, the playwright and novelist Reggie Oliver, whom she married in 1992. She created a gallery in a converted farm building and mounted numerous exhibitions there, as well as showing at the New English Art Club in London and the Royal Society of Portrait Painters.
She is survived by her husband and children, and five grandchildren.
• Joanna Elizabeth Dunham, actor, born 6 May 1936; died 25 November 2014