Author Colleen McCullough has died in hospital on Norfolk Island
11 days ago January 29, 2015 7:41PM
COLLEEN McCullough, the internationally famous Australian author, has died in hospital on Norfolk Island. She was 77.
McCullough was a neuroscientist by training, and worked in various Sydney and English hospitals before settling into 10 years of research and teaching in the Department of Neurology at the Yale Medical School in the US.
But then she became a full-time author, and for nearly 40 years McCullough was one of Australia’s top-selling novelists.
The literary establishment may have been sniffy about her work, but McCullough laughed all the way to the bank as her tales of forbidden love, her historical series covering the fall of republican Rome and her body-filled police procedurals made her a wealthy woman.
In 1974 her first novel, ‘Tim’, about a middle-aged women’s romance with a good-looking, intellectually disabled handyman, did well and was made into a film starring Piper Laurie and Mel Gibson after it was published in New York.
She then published her next book ‘The Thorn Birds’ in 1977, and a string of successful novels, including the Masters of Rome series.
McCullough suffered health problems most of her life.
At 32 she was found to have hypothyroidism, which caused depression and weight gain.
But she reckoned that although she’d always looked like the back of a bus, she’d always had boyfriends because “men love a funny woman”.
I got alerted to this by the BBC Radio 4 Last Word program earlier this evening: