Reference > Erinsborough News > Living On Borrowed Time
Anne Haddy reveals the personal drama which threatens her soapie success
Neighbours’ Anne Haddy believes she is living on borrowed time and she says she “loves” it.
Anne suffers from a serious heart disease. She did not know she had the disease until seven years ago, when, at the age of 47, she suffered a heart attack which nearly took her life.
“March 20 is an important anniversary for me because that is when I had my attack,” Anne said. Along with two open heart operations, Anne credits giving up smoking and changing her eating habits for prolonging her life.
“Thankfully, I’ve had no more attacks. I’m too busy, I don’t have the time (to have them),” she said, with the sense of defiance and optimism that are so much part of her on-screen character.
Anne plays Helen Daniels, Jim Robinson’s mother-in-law in the Network 10 series. She has been in it from the first scene, and before Neighbours had a long sting in Sons And Daughters, another Grundy production.
Anne’s health problem is a common one. It involves the veins and arteries clogging up, and it is compounded by the fact that she has small veins. Anne has also suffered stomach cancer and a broken hip. When she had the heart attack, she thought she would never work again. She was terrified that once people in showbusiness learned of her condition they would cross her off their casting lists.
“Afterwards, I was very weak,” Anne said. “But I told people I was much better than I actually was so they wouldn’t think: ‘She’s no good, we can’t use her.’ After the first bypass (a heart operation), I did some work, mainly in radio, then suddenly I got some in TV. But after the second open heart operation two years ago, I thought I would never work again because I had difficulty breathing. My lungs were affected very badly with the second surgery… it was touch and go for a while.”
“But here I am, working like a dog and loving every minute of it.”
Anne said she got very tired in a different way than ordinary people. “It’s a different sort of tiredness. Only people with heart disease would understand it. I can’t lift my arms up much. In the studio, if I have to do lots of things with my arms I tire quickly. So I try to avoid unnecessary exertion until the take. Everybody is very kind. People are wonderful to me in the studio. They don’t treat me like an old crock, though, I feel like one.”
Anne said she felt like she was living on borrowed time.
“I love it because it makes you more conscious of each day.”
She has refused to let her condition and the surgery dampen her spirits. Anne said it has been important to her to get back on deck as soon as possible.
This article originally appeared in TV Week magazine, dated July 12th 1986, and was written by Christopher Beck