Anne Louise Lambert
Some heated 1970s press and publicity for
the soap opera starlet
Actress Anne Lambert was born in Brisbane in 1956 and began her career as a soap starlet in roles that capitalised on her youthful good looks and sexy image. The lissome lovely first gained prominence in 1973 as the very brazen bed-hopping nymphomaniac Sue Marshall in Number 96. The role lasted several weeks and called for the nubile starlet to appear semi-nude in several scenes. Anne Lambert was then cast as Peggy Richardson in Class of '74.
In a teasing move, her schoolgirl character was nicknamed "The Iceberg" by other characters in the show due to her prim and proper ways, while heated publicity promised viewers that as the series progressed Peggy would come out in a big way. Whatever it was that this coming out entailed, Class of '74's early evening timeslot meant that Lambert would remain covered-up this time.
Lambert then shot to international stardom after playing Miranda in Peter Weir's classic film Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975), though the recognition the role brought probably had more to do, again, with Lambert's ethereal blond loveliness than her dramatic range. After this role it was back to sexy TV roles, and Lambert joined The Box playing the "sexy and promiscuous" Trish Freeman for six months in 1976. [i] After this Lambert eventually travelled to the UK, where she found that another actress was operating under the name Anne Lambert, so thereafter she became known as Anne Louise Lambert.
Despite the instant recognition that Picnic at Hanging Rock brought, Lambert's subsequent movie work has been sporadic. She would take a leading role in Peter Greenaway's first film, The Draughtsman's Contract (1982), and appear on stage in Sweet Bird of Youth opposite Lauren Bacall. Through the 1990s Lambert appeared in several Australian features, including Lillian's Story (1995).
In 1974 Anne Lambert spoke to the Australasian Post magazine musing over the vagaries of soap opera fame. She also teased about the upcoming storylines in Class of '74.
"I'm not allowed to tell people what's going to happen in
future episodes," she told Post. "So if you've heard that I'm
going to be turned into a sexy tart then you can say that if you want
to, but don't say you heard it from me." Lambert then chatted about the
nude scenes she was required to do in Number 96.
"It was never a complete strip for me though. I usually took off only my blouse and my bra and even then I think I had my back to the camera most of the time. I was amused by that back-to-the-camera instruction I always had when I was doing a semi-nude scene. I think they had my back to the camera because obviously I'm no Raquel Welch as far as my bust line goes and the directors must have thought I didn't have enough to show off, so it wasn't worth showing!" [ii]
Lambert goes on to explain that she firmly believes an actress should be called on to disrobe only where it is essential to the plot. "If I read a script and I see they've got me down to get my clothes off in a scene where it's totally unnecessary, I'll go straight around to the producers and put up an argument against it," she said. "I won't strip unless it's a natural action according to the scene concerned." [iii]
Despite this steadfast attitude, Lambert was later cast in another sexy soap with nude scenes, The Box. Unfortunately for Lambert, this role would require bedroom scenes and nudity. On signing with the series Lambert told TV Week "I have seen such scenes in some previous episodes and I thought they were handled well. I hope mine will be handled modestly". [iv]
Lambert insisted that the fame and adoration generated by her
Class of '74 character was much easier to cope with than
the reaction her Number 96 character elicited from fans. Of
her Number 96 character Lambert told TV Week,
"Sue was a particularly nasty character and people used to come up to me in the street and abuse me, as Sue, for all the things I'd been doing, it became a bit exasperating when I couldn't get away from my working life. I wasn't artistically fulfilled after the role and I guess I became a bit disenchanted with the idea of acting." [v]
Of the Number 96 workload Lambert explained to Post that,
"It was a tremendous change from the way I'd lived before, but luckily my boyfriends were very understanding about the whole thing. I don't think it must be much fun going out with a girl from Number 96. For a start, the working hours and rehearsals take up a lot of time and it's just not possible to have two late nights in a row. It's a bit the same with Class of '74, but for some reason the general public don't treat you like freaks if you're from '74. But if you're from 96 they just stop and stare at you as if you were something behind bars in a zoo." [vi]
Obviously those classy '74 viewers are far better behaved than the sex-mad 96ers!
Page originally uploaded May 2000
Last updated 9 February 2013
[i] "The Lonely Beauty from The Box." TV Week. 22 May 1976, page 20.
[ii] Australasian Post. October 1974.
[iii] Australasian Post. October 1974.
[iv] "The Lonely Beauty from The Box." TV Week. 22 May 1976, page 20.
[v] "The Lonely Beauty from The Box." TV Week. 22 May 1976, page 20.
[vi] Australasian Post. October 1974.