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An actor probably best known for playing Irene Forsyte in the classic TV series The Forsyte Saga (1967). She also starred as Contessa Caroline di Contini in The Protectors (1972-1974) about a trio of crimefighters, another of whom was Robert Vaughn; and played Dame Margot Fonteyn in Hilary and Jackie (1998). She died yesterday at the age of 61.

Other appearances include 13 episodes of Never a Cross Word (1968-1969) and The Martian Chronicles (1978) on television; a film of Jane Eyre, and The House that Dripped Blood (1970) with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.

She has been in the news recently as one of numerous women in the public eye to have received pornographic letters over several decades from the same man. The arrest of a suspect was announced yesterday. She said of him, "In my opinion he is the victim, not us. He needs help."

I believe she was born in New Zealand, though I can't find any biographical material on her on the Web.

Okay, the BBC have now got an obituary up, so I can add more from that. She was indeed born in New Zealand, the name Nyree being an anglicization of the Maaori name Ngaire. She won an acting scholarship to London at the age of 20; her first TV role was in Madame Bovary; but it was as the glamorous wife Irene Forsyte that she became famous. She turned down the lead role in The Avengers. Another show she was in was For Maddie With Love in 1980.

Nyree Dawn Porter was married first to Bryon O'Leary, who died of a drugs overdose in 1970, and from 1975 till their divorce in 1987 to the actor Robin Halstead: they had a daughter Talya. She was awarded the OBE in 1971.

The cause of her sudden death at her London home is as yet unknown.

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