Cody Willis Amelia
Frid, Peta Brady
Willis 1989-1991, 1993-1996
Born: c. 1975
Parents: Doug and Pam
Marital Status: Drew Grover (divorced 1994)
Siblings: Adam, John, Gaby and Brad
Family Tree: Willis
Occupation: Student, Receptionist
The youngest child of Doug and Pam Willis, Cody Willis was born in 1975 in Erinsborough. Cody was always a determined young woman and the apple of her father's eye. As a teenager, she always knew how to get what she wanted, when she wanted so when she fell for Todd Landers, a classmate at Erinsborough High, she made no bones about telling him. The fact that Todd was seeing Melissa Jarrett at the time wasn't an issue for Cody, and she took advantage of the fact that Melissa was in America with her parents for a few months to make her play for Todd. Paired together for a school project, Cody did everything she could to seduce Todd, but he remained committed to his long-distance relationship with Melissa. When Todd finally succumbed and kissed Cody, they were interrupted by Melissa - just back from the States. Todd opted to stay with Melissa and Cody had to settle for a romance with Todd's best friend, Josh Anderson instead.
Despite their complicated romantic entanglements, the four became best friends and got into umpteen scrapes around Erinsborough, such as the time Josh rigged the school computer to print out their History essays exactly the same apart from a few sentences. As the end of term exams loomed, Melissa and Josh began to spend more and more time together studying and began to fall for each other while Cody was finding it harder and harder to hide her true feelings for Todd. Luckily for her, Todd had come to the realisation that she was the one for him and he broke the news to Melissa that he wanted to be with Cody. Of course by that stage, Melissa and Josh had decided they were in love too, and things worked out perfectly for all four of them.
When the house next door to Todd on Ramsay Street - No.28 - was put on the market, Cody was thrilled when Doug and Pam bought it. But no sooner had Cody moved into Ramsay Street than Todd was told he would be moving out. Todd's aunt Beverly and Uncle Jim were splitting up and with Beverly moving to Perth, Todd was being sent back to his mum's in Adelaide. Despite pleas from Todd to stay, he was forced to bid farewell to Cody and she was distraught by his departure - even giving him a framed photograph of herself with a big frown on her face to express how she felt. And when Todd failed to phone her at the time they had agreed upon, she was convinced that he had forgotten about her. But Todd had actually never gotten on the bus to Adelaide, and made his way back to Erinsborough. Cody hid him in her room for a few days and denied hearing from him when word reached Ramsay Street that he had never arrived in Adelaide. However, they were eventually rumbled by Pam and preparations were made for Todd to leave again. He was granted a last minute reprieve though when Jim stepped in and agreed to let him stay on at No.26 - much to the delight of Cody.
Cody was convinced she was adopted when she looked through the family photo album one day and was struck by the fact that there were plenty of baby photos of her brothers Adam and Brad and sister Gaby, but none of her as a baby. Her suspicions were compounded by the discovery of some adoption papers in a drawer, which appeared to be all the proof Cody needed. But Pam and Doug laughed off the suggestion when Cody confronted them with it, and explained that the adoption papers were related to a friend of Pam's who she had helped through the adoption process. And they produced a whole separate photo album that had been created specially for her baby photographs. It transpired that because Cody was the last baby, they had overdosed on taking snapshots of her and needed a completely new album for her.
More problems were just around the corner when Pam found condoms in Cody's school bag and she feared the teenagers were having sex. Unbeknown to Pam, the condoms had been given to all the students of Erinsborough High during sex education classes, and Cody and Todd had had no intention of sleeping together. However, they were forbidden from seeing each other, and Cody and Todd decided to run away so that they could remain together. Being on the run from their families wasn’t as easy as they thought, however, and after sleeping rough in a barn, Cody came down with a bad fever. Cody was forced to return home, but Todd opted to remain on the run.
When the Willises spent the weekend at a guest house in the bush which they had gone into partnership with Paul Robinson on, Cody went missing just as a bush fire started heading their way. She had gone to collect water in a nearby valley, but when it was completely gutted by the fires, Cody was presumed dead. Luckily, she turned up the following day alive and well, suffering only from smoke inhalation. She had also befriended a cat during her ordeal, which she named Smokey. Todd, meanwhile, started to think about returning home after hearing about what Cody had been through. And when his surrogate gran Helen fell down a flight of stairs while searching for him with Josh, he knew it was time to go back and face the music. Cody was naturally thrilled to be reunited with Todd, and their families finally conceded that the couple were madly in love.
Todd's return made Cody reach a decision about her relationship with him - she wanted to sleep with him. After a lot of agonising on both their parts, they eventually agreed that they would go ahead with it, but at the last minute, Cody backed out, fearing they were still too young to have sex.
When school principal Dorothy Burke put Cody forward for a two-year scholarship to study in America, Cody was reluctant to leave Todd behind. But they decided she couldn't turn down the chance of a lifetime and agreed to split up. Cody licked her wounds by seeing Darren Wood, while Todd looked up old flame Emma Gordon. But as the date of Cody's departure drew closer, they both realised they still loved each other and agreed to try having a long distance relationship. Cody found it hard to leave her family and friends behind, but the fact that Melissa had moved there permanently with her family a few months beforehand made it a little easier. And knowing Todd would be waiting for her upon her return sealed the deal for Cody.
After a couple of months, however, Cody found herself falling for someone else and she wrote a painful letter to Todd in which she broke up with him. Various relationships followed for Cody while she was studying in America, but the one serious relationship came in the form of black basketball player Drew Grover, who wanted Cody to marry him. The only problem was that Drew simply wanted Cody to marry him so that he could transfer a family inheritance into her name to avoid paying tax. Cody was initially oblivious to this, and without telling her family, went ahead with the marriage. When she realised that Drew didn’t love her, Cody abruptly packed her bags and returned home to Erinsborough.
The Willis family were delighted to have Cody back home, and she in turn managed to put on a brave face at first. But as she settled back in, she became moody and withdrawn and Pam noticed that something was bothering her. Pam initially suspected that Cody was finding it hard to fit back into Ramsay Street since Josh and Melissa were no longer around and Todd had tragically died in a car accident the previous year. In an effort to help Cody make some new friends, she brought her over to the Martins to introduce her to their daughter Debbie. Although a friendship did develop between the two, Cody remained depressed, and found it tough when she returned to Erinsborough High to start her final year of school. The adjustment wasn't helped by the fact that her old classmates, Lenny Carver and Gary Briggs had set up a competition around the school to see who could get a date with the 'ice maiden' first. Only Rick Alessi seemed to be different, and Cody was quite taken by him. However, any potential romance between the two was cut short when Rick went on an extended trip to Hong Kong with his parents.
Debbie's brother Michael arrived back in town after a spell in a juvenile detention centre and he and Cody immediately hit it off since they were both having difficulties settling back into Ramsay Street. Pam wasn't so keen on the union of the two, given Michael's criminal past, and she refused to let Cody see him. But Cody went behind her mother's back and started spending a lot of time with Michael. When Rick returned, a rivalry developed between him and Michael as they fought for Cody's affections. Cody eventually gave in and kissed Rick but was caught by Michael in the process. Although she levelled with Michael and told him that she had liked Rick ever since she returned from America, Cody decided it would be best to cool things with both of them for the time being and stick to being single.
But Cody and Michael were brought closer together when she helped him overcome his anxiety about public speaking and got him to participate in the school debate. They started going out, but Cody was uncomfortable when Michael quickly started putting pressure on her to have sex with him. Cody took some time to think about it, but when Michael started shying away from being intimate with her just as she had decided to have sex with him, Cody was confused. But she was shocked when Michael admitted that he had had learnt an ex-girlfriend of his had been diagnosed as HIV positive - meaning he could have contracted the virus himself. Cody stuck by Michael through the ordeal, but even after he had been given the all clear, their relationship had floundered and they opted to remain friends.
Tragedy struck for the students of Erinsborough High when Briggs, Lenny and Danni Stark challenged Rick and a reluctant Cody to a drag race and a crash caused Briggs to lose his life. Racked with guilt for taking part in the race in the first place, Cody was also angry with herself for not being able to resuscitate Briggs at the scene of the accident because she didn't know First Aid. This re-enforced Cody's determination to pursue a career in medicine and follow in the footsteps of her older brother Adam, who was a doctor, and Pam, who was a qualified nurse.
Always fiercely determined and committed, when Cody learnt Doug was planning to sell the old house he had been renovating to property developers, she was adamant to put a stop to it. In a final attempt at changing Doug's mind, Cody contacted the local news station who promptly sent a news camera to the house and produced a petition from over 100 locals objecting to the sale of the property. But the incident infuriated Doug, who was portrayed in a bad light on the news and was sacked from his main job as a result. Feeling terrible, Cody decided that the best thing she could do to make things easy for Doug would be to move out, and she went to stay next door with Debbie. However Doug softened when he saw a video Cody had made for the council about the house which subsequently made them decide to purchase it instead. Doug apologised to Cody and accepted that she was only trying to save the house and had never meant to get him the sack.
Cody was stunned when Drew arrived in Ramsay Street out of the blue and she hurried him off to Lassiter's in the hope of avoiding a meeting between him and her family. But Gaby interrupted them and insisted on introducing herself to Cody's intriguing new man. But once Gaby realised it was the guy who had broken Cody's heart in the States, she confronted him about causing Cody so much upset and heartache. However, Gaby was stunned when Drew told her things were more complicated than what Cody had made out and revealed he and Cody were married. With everything out in the open, Cody was forced to tell her parents. Although Doug and Pam were understandably shocked, Drew seemed to be decent enough with his explanation that it had only ever meant to be a marriage of convenience and he explained that he had come to Australia to seek a divorce because he wanted to pursue a political career back home.
Cody found herself drawn to Rick once more when he escorted her to Erinsborough High’s deb ball. However, Cassandra Rushmore entered the equation when she instructed Rick on a parachute jump, and began to chase after Rick. Cody's jealousy of Cassandra made her realise once and for all that she wanted to be with Rick. And with Rick not interested in Cassandra despite her best efforts, the path was clear for him and Cody to be together at last.
Just as Cody was entering the final months of study in the lead-up to her HSC exams, Doug and Pam announced that they were selling up and moving to Darwin. Cody knew it would be impossible for her to go with them since she had only a short time left in school, so she took Marlene Kratz up on an offer of lodging at her house across the road in No.24. Cody's attempts at studying were hindered by Rick, who took to hanging around her all the time and Cody became more and more stressed as the exams loomed. Rick put temptation in her path when he got his hands on copies of the exam papers, and Cody agonised over whether or not to take a peek. She eventually decided that she only wanted to enter med school on her own merit, and stuck to her studying. Her hard work paid off when she achieved top marks and won a place at Eden Hills University to study medicine, and thus, follow in the footsteps of her mum and brother. And to add to her delight, Pam and Doug bought her a car to celebrate her success. Cody also moved out of the increasingly crowded No.24 once the exams were over and was welcomed into the Robinson house by Helen, Philip and Hannah. Cody acted as a surrogate sister to young Hannah while Debbie was living in New York, and provided her with a shoulder to cry on as she began the teenage years.
Despite fainting on her first day at med school upon seeing her first dead body, Cody loved uni life, and became close friends with her lab partners Jen Handley, Vince Hayworth and Hamish Dwyer. But Rick began to feel left out as she spent more and more time with her new friends, and he even wrongly suspected her of having an affair with one of her tutors. The root of Rick's problem, however, was that he felt inferior around the students Cody had befriended, and he feared that Cody wouldn't want to be seen with a school-dropout. But Cody assured Rick that this was not the case, and they went on a romantic weekend away together to reaffirm their commitment to each other. The weekend proved troublesome, however, when Rick did his back in, and Cody got badly sunburnt. But they made the most of the time they had away together, and learnt a lot about each other before they returned to Ramsay Street. However, soon after their return, Rick was offered the position of Assistant Food & Beverages Manager at the Darwin branch of Lassiter's, and he asked Cody to go with him. Cody was unable to make the move with Rick, however, because there were no med schools in the Northern Territory and Rick was torn between staying behind with Cody or advancing his career. The couple eventually agreed to try a long distance relationship, and Cody bid Rick farewell.
When Cody tried out for the university cricket team, she was furious when she was told only men could join the team and was determined to find a way to teach the sexist Coach Garfield a lesson. Karl Kennedy, the GP who had bought the Willis house from Doug and Pam, came up with a solution to Cody's predicament by suggesting she dress as a boy. By tying her hair up under her cap, donning a fake beard, and adopting a deeper voice, 'Willis Kennedy' was born and Cody was picked for the cricket team. When Cody let Jen in on her secret, she wrongly thought that Jen had told Vince when she walked in on Vince and Jen discussing Willis Kennedy in the Coffee Shop. Assuming Jen had let her secret slip to Vince, Cody begged him not to reveal her true identity to Coach Garfield, before realising that Vince hadn’t known she was Willis in the first place. Cody decided that she had made her point when Coach Garfield praised her for playing a great man's game of cricket after she won the team their first game of the season and he was left speechless when Cody took off her fake beard and revealed herself to be a girl. Cody held a celebratory party for the team afterwards, and as they toasted her success at proving girls could play just as good as men, Coach Garfield showed up and told her he accepted the rules were wrong and needed changing and that he had been proven wrong, before asking Cody to stay on the team.
In order to gain extra experience in the world of medicine, Cody accepted a part-time job as receptionist for Karl at his surgery in Lassiter's. She also moved house again, after Lucy Robinson moved back into No.26 and argued constantly with her. Cody now found herself back in Marlene's house, but after a few months, moved out of there when she clashed constantly with Joanna Hartman, who Cody thought was vacuous and inane. Luckily, a room was free over in No.30 and Cody fitted in perfectly to the share house with Mark Gottlieb, as well as his sister, Ren and Jen's brother Luke, who left together for Japan on the day Cody moved in.
Cody began to have second thoughts about her long distance relationship with Rick when she realised she was falling for Stonefish Rebecchi. Stonie had already fallen for Cody, but she had continuously made it clear to him that nothing could happen between them. Nonetheless, Stonie continued to pester Cody to go on a date with him, and she finally relented, although made it clear it was just as mates. However, Cody was bowled over by the lengths Stonie had gone to in order to make the date special for her - he had taken her to a winery in the countryside and serenaded her with a band from the winery he was secretly a member of - and she began to see a different side to him. They finally kissed after a romantic picnic by Lassiter's Lake, and Cody subsequently made the difficult decision to end her relationship with Rick so that she could freely see Stonie.
The romance wasn’t without its ups and downs, not least when Stonie caused Cody to lose an important essay for uni she had carefully crafted on her computer after he started messing around with the electricity and caused a blackout. Cody also nearly lost her job at the surgery when Stonie persuaded her to call in sick so that she could join him for a barbecue with his mates by the lake - only for Karl to choose the same location to have a his lunch that same day and catch her out. Stonie gradually came to fear that Cody would dump him on account of his fondness for school yard pranks and getting her into awkward scrapes, but it was Stonie's fifteen minutes of fame on a late night cable TV advert that put the final nail in the coffin for the lovers. Stonie had become so egotistical that Cody ended things, although they agreed to remain mates.
Cody's next relationship was even more problematic. Adrian Ewart was her college tutor and she had to endure a lot of stick and curious looks from her fellow students as the relationship became common knowledge. But Cody had much more to worry about when she discovered that Adrian had another girlfriend, Caroline, and she promptly dumped him. But Adrian became obsessed with Cody and hounded her day and night, pleading with her to take him back. She was forced to take out a restraining order against him, but this didn't stop Adrian from turning up on her doorstep on the eve of her first end of term exam. Adrian pushed his way inside and Cody desperately tried to get him out again, before Mark came to her rescue and threatened Adrian with the police. The next day at uni, Cody received a chilling warning from Adrian that she would need a lot of luck as she prepared to sit her exams. Cody was further intimidated when Adrian turned out to be one of the lecturers examining her in her orals, and when he played dirty with her, Cody accused him of trying to fail her. But her angry outbursts only did her more harm after it caused the invigilator to ask Cody to leave because she was distracting the other students. Cody weathered the storm, however, and was thrilled when she learnt that Adrian had resigned. Cody decided on one final confrontation with him before he left town, and when Adrian gloated about his new post as a palaeontologist at another university, Cody wiped the smile from his face by threatening to call his new employers, and new students, to tell them about what he had done to her.
When Cody provided Sam Kratz, Marlene's grandson and her old housemate at No.24, with a shoulder to cry on in the wake of his split with Annalise Hartman, the pair began to spend more and more time together. As it appeared that they had developed feelings for each other, Cody and Sam decided to try dating. But they both quickly realised that they were much better off as friends than lovers and decided to give up on the idea of a romance. Besides, Cody faced the prospect of leaving Erinsborough after winning a place at a med school in Newcastle, near Adam and his girlfriend Gemma. But Cody never made it to Newcastle as a set of tragic circumstances unfolded on Ramsay Street which would shatter her dreams.
When Stonie and Mal Kennedy bought a used car from - unbeknownst to them - a pair of drug dealers, the police descended upon Ramsay Street for a stakeout operation when they realised the dealers still had a stash hidden in the car and would be looking for it within a matter of days. Cody and Luke, who'd returned to town earlier that year, reluctantly agreed to let the police use No.30 as a base for their operations because it would give them a clear view of the Kennedy driveway, where the car was parked. After two days, the drug dealers finally arrived on Ramsay Street, but a shootout broke out between them and the police which resulted in a shot being fired through the window of No.30 and hitting Cody. Karl tended to her straight away, but having been hit in the stomach, Cody was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery.
Cody lay in a critical condition in hospital for the best part of a week, and Pam, who had jetted down from Darwin to be by her side, kept a constant vigil. There was relief all round when Cody regained consciousness and it looked as if she would make a full recovery. But just as Pam started making plans with Cody to hold a big family reunion up in Darwin as soon as she got back on her feet, Cody suddenly took a turn and started arresting. Pam screamed for help as Cody called to her mum in desperation, and the doctors rushed to try and revive Cody. But despite their best efforts, Cody died - leaving her devastated family and friends behind.
Sam took her death quite badly, such was the strength of the bond between the two friends and as he drowned his sorrows and tried to understand why Cody had been taken, his spirits were lifted when Cody appeared to him. She told him that she would never truly leave him, and would always be around. And when she disappeared and Sam thought he had imagined the whole thing, he realised Cody had indeed visited him when he saw that she had left one of her rings in his hand.
After a memorial service was held by Lassiter's Lake where the residents of Ramsay Street paid tribute to Cody, her body was taken up to Darwin where she was buried close to her heartbroken family.
• Peta Brady played Cody from the character's return to Ramsay
Street in 1993 onwards
• To read our interview with Amelia Frid, click here
1100-1487, 1538, 2058-2579
Episode 1487: Cody's
Episode 2571: Cody's
Episode 2579: Cody's Death
Biography by Mark