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Diane Cilento: an Oscar-nominated Australian actress, has died

Diane Cilento, an Oscar-nominated Australian actress who was once married to James Bond actor Sean Connery, has died in northern Australia, an official said Friday.

Actor Sean Connery, holding son Jason under his arm, and wife Diane Cilento walk away from a plane after her arrival at Nassau, Bahamas on April 14, 1965. Oscar-nominated Australian actress Diane Cilento has died Thursday, in northern Australia.

AP/File

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Oscar-nominated Australian actress Diane Cilento, who was once married to James Bond actor Sean Connery, has died in northern Australia, an official said Friday. She was 78.

Cilento, a veteran of dozens of films, television shows and stage productions, died Thursday night, Queensland state Premier Anna Bligh said.

No cause of death was given.

The Queensland-born actress rose to fame in the 1950s and 1960s, starring alongside screen legends such as Charlton Heston and Paul Newman. In 1956, she was nominated for a Tony Award for her portrayal of Helen of Troy in the play "Tiger at the Gates." She received an Academy Award nomination in 1963 for best supporting actress for her work in the movie "Tom Jones."

Her celebrity grew after she married Connery — her second husband — in 1962. The two had a son before divorcing 11 years later. She went on to wed her third husband, playwright Anthony Shaffer, in 1985.

She and Shaffer eventually settled in tropical northern Queensland, where she built a popular outdoor theater in the rain forest.

"While she was originally known as a glamorous international film star, her work in later years in the far north showed her commitment to the arts," Bligh said in a statement. "I know that Ms. Cilento will be sorely missed by many in the industry."


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