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Played: Susan Smith Kennedy Kinski
Jacqueline ‘Jackie’ Woodburne was born on 5th February 1956 in Carrickfergus, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. After spending her first three years in Whitehead, on the Antrim coast, where her father, Jim, was in the Royal Ulster constabulary, Jackie emigrated to Australia with her parents and elder brothers, John and Stephen. Growing up in Melbourne, and attending Monterey High School in the suburb of Frankston North, Jackie always had a secret desire to act, but was lacked the self-confidence she needed to get up on stage. At 19 though, Jackie spent a year travelling the world, gaining her much needed confidence and upon returning to Melbourne, having left it too late to audition for Drama college that year, begged the Dean of the National Theatre School to give her a chance and to Jackie’s surprise, she was.
Three years later, Jackie walked straight out of Drama college into the role of Josie Von Flugel in the television mini-series Outbreak of Love. Following this, Jackie had stints in Cop Shop playing Gina, the sister of Alan Fletcher’s character, Frank Rossi and playing Nurse Maggie Gordon in The Young Doctors and Julie Egbert in Prisoner: Cell Block H.
However, it was in 1994 that Jackie would embark on her longest television role to date, as Susan Kennedy in Neighbours, a role which helped Jackie capture the hearts of millions of viewers worldwide and numerous award nominations, including the Rose D’or Award for best female performance in a soap opera in 2005. In fact, it was the role of Susan which gained Jackie honorary membership of the Junior Common Room at St. Hilda’s College, Oxford and the character of Susan (under her maiden name of Smith) herself honorary membership of Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.
On 22nd March 2007, Jackie officially became Neighbours’ longest serving female cast member, overtaking the late Anne Haddy and on 9th July the same year, celebrated 3000 episodes since her first appearance.
In December 2006, the character of Susan Kennedy/Smith/Kinski topped our vote for the 50 Greatest Neighbours in the show’s history, coming some 300 points ahead of her nearest competitor. Jackie very kindly sent us the following message:
Thank you to everyone involved in the recent poll on the PerfectBlend website! What a thrill! It just shows that if you stick around long enough, you will eventually wear people down! My time playing 'Susan' on Neighbours has been the happiest and most rewarding of my career. I've had an enormous amount of fun and worked with some great actors in some challenging and at times unlikely storylines! In short, it has been a blast!! To be acknowledged by the viewers and fans in this way is so gratifying and I appreciate the encouragement and support more than I can say! I look forward to guiding 'Susan' through many more adventures in the future!!
With love and gratitude,
You've Got To Be Kidding!
Profile by Callum