Kiwi actress Sophia Hawthorne dies

Kiwi stage and screen actress Sophia Hawthorne has died.

Coming from a family of prolific actors, Hawthorne is the daughter of influential stage couple Raymond and Elizabeth Hawthorne. She was just recently part of the Guys and Dolls in the Auckland theater company with her father, who also directed the play. This was her first project after her brief hiatus.

A spokesperson said that the family is unable to comment as this time. Police said that they were at an intial call-out, but they are not treating Hawthorne’s death as suspicious.

Hawthorne’s agent, Gail Cowan Management, said that they will not be commenting on the death today.

Actress Jennifer Ward-Lealand said that this is a very sad news for the community.

“Both because we have lost one of our own but also for the impact this will have on our dear colleagues and friends, Sophia’s mother, Elizabeth, her father, Raymond and sister Emmeline,” she said. “She shone so very brightly in so many productions.”

Michael Hurst, who worked with Hawthorne in a 1993 production of Romeo and Juliet, also expressed sadness over the actress’ death. “She played Juliet and she did it so brilliantly. She did things, put things into the role, that I could never have told her to do or directed; it came by instinct and was stunning to watch,” he said.

Hawthorne has starred in a lot of projects like Cabaret and The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but it is her role as Leesa Savage in Savage Honeymoon that made audiences and directors notice her.

“I’m numb right now, Today the acting community lost a member of our family. I can’t help but feel privileged to be the last to sing duets with her, to make people laugh with her, we will miss her. I will miss her,” said actor Shane Cortese.

The Hawthorne family is asking for privacy at this time.