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Neighbours Actors You May Not Know Passed Away

Set in the fictional Melbourne suburb Erinsborough, "Neighbours" is an Australian soap opera that originally focused on three different households on Ramsey Street; the Clarkes, Ramsays, and Robinsons. Interpersonal drama and comedy often blend on the long-running show, which dedicated fans have watched for decades. With literally thousands of episodes under its belt, "Neighbors" is one of the most prolific cultural exports from Australia (not including Vegemite). 

The show has been nominated for 76 awards, and managed to scoop up 25 of them. According to The Guardian, "Neighbours" even became a smash with its UK adaptation, and was "sold to more than 60 countries," although it failed to breakthrough in U.S. markets. Still, the series has been a resounding success, regularly pulling around 200,000 viewers per episode, per a 2016 report from TV Tonight.

With the original episodes airing in 1985, "Neighbours" has continued its long march to the present day. And with a legacy that long, it's no surprise that the series also minted an impressive roster of budding stars, including Margot Robbie, Chris Hemsworth, Liam Hemsworth, Guy Pearce, and Russell Crowe. In fact, while speaking with the Australian Council of Trade UnionsRobbie said of her pre-"Neighbours" fame that she "was working at Subway." Pearce still can't escape his "Neighbours" stint. He even joked to The Sydney Morning Herald that his "Mare of Easttown" costar Kate Winslet would often sing the show's theme song to him. 

Unfortunately, not all cast members are still with us, but they are not forgotten.

Gwen Plumb

Gwen Plumb played the friendly and compassionate farm owner, Mrs. Forbes, on "Neighbours." A side character, Mrs. Forbes crosses paths with some of the main characters in a 10-episode arc during the show's first season in 1985.  

Born on August 2, 1912, Plumb passed away on June 5, 2002. She had a long and extensive career, appearing in medium-spanning projects on radio, vaudeville, television, and in film and theater. She is perhaps best known for her brief run on "The Young Doctors," which at that point was the longest running Australian series (via The Sydney Morning Herald). Plumb's acting credits also include "Richmond Hill," "Stark," and "Home and Away."

Plumb was instrumental to the success of Sydney's 2GB's radio station, and earned a top spot as a star. John Brennan, a 2GB director, described his colleague as "one of the few women ... who can combine female authority, friendship and role model on air." In 1994, Plumb also published her own autobiography, titled "Plumb Crazy." Gordan Chater, a lifelong friend of Plumb who crafted the foreword to the Plumb autobiography, added, "This book will solve a lot of problems. When I'm down it will make me laugh (via The Sydney Morning Herald)."

Plumb even became a member of the Order of Australia in 1993 for her contribution to charity and her work in entertainment (via Trove). Thelma Scott, a fellow actor known best for "Number 96," was Gwen Plumb's lifelong consort.  

Johnny Lockwood

Johnny Lockwood, who played Harry Henderson on "Neighbours," passed away on April 25, 2013. Harry Henderson is best known for winning ownership of a coffee shop during a game of cards (apparently Australian Poker is high stakes). Originally getting his start as a strictly comedic actor, Johnny Lockwood eventually ended up starring in soap operas and dramas, as well, including "E Street," "Spyforce," and perhaps most notably, "Number 96."

Born on December 7, 1920, Lockwood took a brief break from entertainment to serve in the Royal Air Force during World War 2, reports The Sydney Morning Herald. Lockwood has one daughter, Joanna Lockwood, who is also an actor known for her roles in "Cop Shop" and "E Street." Of her father, Joanna said (TV Tonight), "His career and gifts spread way beyond one show. Dad was hard on the inside and gooey on the inside. Anybody in the business he came across, he helped them out without them knowing. He was very helpful to people who came across bad times through illness or just tough times." 

During his 90th birthday in 2010, the former cast of "Number 96" had a reunion, and Lockwood stated (Now To Love), "This is probably the last time we shall ever get together like this. I was orphaned at 11. When we did the show back in the 1970s, these people were so important to me. Like family."

Stewart Adam

Stewart Adam, who played mechanic Aaron Barkley on "Neighbours," tragically passed away on June 21, 2004. Although Aaron was not a main character, The Sydney Morning Herald reported that the up-and-coming star who portrayed the friendly mechanic had a big impact on the rest of the "Neighbours" cast. His only major acting credit was appearing in three "Neighbours" episodes in 2003 and 2004. Before joining the cast, Stewart Adam found work as a professional model.

Born in 1980, Adam was only 24 at the time of death, which was caused by a blood clot associated with a condition called deep vein thrombosis.

"The cast was stunned. They were all shocked when the announcement was made in the Green Room. I don't think anyone quite believed what they were hearing," stated a spokeswoman for the show in 2004 (via The Herald Sun). Adam's manager Deborah Miller additionally told the outlet, "He had it all. He was the most special, beautiful person you could meet. He had not been modelling long, but he had a huge future. There was international interest — he was smart, good-looking, well-mannered and extremely professional. He had everything. His death is a tragedy."

Val Jellay

Val Jellay died of pneumonia on May 6, 2017. Jellay played Lyn O'Rourke's mother, Connie O'Rourke, on "Neigbours," in an eight-episode run on the series in 2000. Connie was mostly a supporting character to Lyn, but it eventually came out that she was not Lyn's biological mother. 

Born on September 25, 1927, Jellay had an extensive career in entertainment. She was credited as an actor, author, and dancer, and is the mother of comedian Marty Fields. While speaking with a radio station in 2011, Jellay said (via ABC.au), "It was pretty good going into television really because we had come from theatre, the vaudeville people, and we knew how to handle props and how to shut up when the other one was speaking and how to learn lines."

Val Jelly married Maurie Fields in 1960, and the couple was still together at the time of Fields' passing in 1995. Jellay's acting credits include "Matlock Police," "Homicide," "Cop Shop", "Prisoner," and "The Flying Doctors." She started acting at the age of four, and even appeared with her son, Marty Fields, in "Hey Hey It's Saturday." On the day of her death, Jellay's son said (via Television.au), "She lived an amazing life. She's back with her beloved Maurie now. I will miss her very much."