Tripti Joshi (Editor)

Vanessa Downing

Updated on
Share on FacebookTweet on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on Reddit
Other names  Vanessa Ryan
Role  Character actress
Occupation  Actress/ lawyer
Spouse  Rodney Fischer
Years active  1977–present
Alma mater  University of Sydney
Name  Vanessa Downing

Vanessa Downing wwwabcnetauradionationalimage43444183x4340
Movies  Double Sculls, The Everlasting Secret Family, Stationery
Similar People  Debra Lawrance, Ian Gilmour, Lucy Wig

Vanessa Downing (born 5 May 1958) is an Australian character actress of theatre and screen; she has also done recordings including singing and voice-over. She was educated in Sydney, attended the Australian theatre for young people, and holds a Master's degree in English Literature from University of Sydney. She graduated as a lawyer in 2006, and now juggles a law career with her acting roles, mostly on the stage



Theatre roles include Three a Penny and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf. As well as being a well-known and prominent stage actress she has featured in many television roles including All Saints, classic '80s soap opera Sons and Daughters, G.P., Water Rats, HeadLand and Packed to the Rafters.

She is best known however for being an original cast member of the television soap opera Home and Away playing a role many years her senior as foster mother Pippa Fletcher, replacing Carole Willesee at short notice, the wife of newsreader Mike Willesee, who was originally cast as Pippa, with the casting news hitting the headlines, at the publicity launch of the soap. When Downing left the series in 1990, apparently because she missed working along co-star Roger Oakley the part was taken over at short notice again by Debra Lawrance who went on to play the character from 1990 to 1998, with subsequent guest appearances. After Debra took over the role, the character of Pippa Ross was awarded a fictitious OAM for her services as a foster parent. Vanessa has starred in the sitcom Bullpitt!, a relaunch of Kingswood Country along with many roles in mini-series; she is also an extremely well-known theatre actress.



  • The Disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain ... as Mrs. Lowe (1983 TV film)
  • The Boy Who Had Everything ... as College Girl Singer (1984)
  • I Can't Get Started ... as Check Out Girl (1985)
  • Double Sculls ... as Sister Cathy (1985 TV film)
  • Funeral Going ... as Patricia (1986 TV film)
  • The Everlasting Secret Family ... as Woman Judge #2 (1988)
  • Mary ... as Flora Mackillop (1994 documentary film)
  • Reflections ... as Mrs O'Brien (1998)
  • Hey, Hey, It's Esther Blueburger ... as Music Teacher (2008)
  • Felony ... as Manny Summer (2013)
  • Stationery ... as Penny (2015 short film)
  • The Immortal ... as Lucy at 50 (20?? short film)
  • Television

  • The Restless Years (1977) (unknown episodes)
  • Sons and Daughters ... as Cheryl Ryan (1982 guest role) (Season 1, Episodes 44 & 60)
  • Great Performances ... as Evie Doyle (1988 guest role) (Episode: "Melba")
  • Home and Away ... as Pippa Flecther (1988–90 main role) (Seasons 1–3 - 363 episodes)
  • Motormouth ... herself (1990) (Season 3, Episode 17)
  • A Country Practice ... as Fiona Farrell (1991 guest role) (Season 11, Episode 41 "For the Good Times: Part 1")
  • G.P. ... as Pam Preston (1993 guest role) (Season 5, Episode 24 "Close to Her Chest")
  • Water Rats ... as Margaret Hobbs (1997 guest role) (Season 2, Episode 13 "The Messenger")
  • Big Sky ... as Danielle Morgan (1997 guest role) (Season 1, Episode 30 "The Right Thing")
  • Bullpitt! ... as Muriel Johnstone (1997–98 main role) (Seasons 1 & 2 - 26 episodes)
  • All Saints ... as Helen Lancaster (1998 guest role) (Season 1, Episode 34 "Live Now, Pay Later")
  • All Saints ... as Claire Hobson (2002 guest role) (Season 5, Episode 4 "Slings and Arrows")
  • HeadLand ... as Pamela Martin (2006 recurring role) (Episodes 50, 51 & 52)
  • Packed to the Rafters ... as Shirley (2008 guest role) (Season 1, Episode 12 "Removing the Block")
  • Rake ... as Judge (2012 guest role) (Season 2, Episode 7 "Greene v Hole")
  • The Moodys ... as Robin Benson (2014 guest role) (Season 1, Episode 1 "Australia Day")
  • References

    Vanessa Downing Wikipedia

    Similar Topics
    Debra Lawrance
    The Everlasting Secret Family