Yet Anne barely raises a whisper or double-take when she ventures out in her Church Point neighbourhood on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
“You wouldn’t even know she was once the woman who played Molly,” one local says of Anne.
“She’s very low-key, very natural. She and her husband are very environmental and political.”
It’s clear Anne, 69, cherishes the anonymity stepping back from the spotlight gave her. She confesses she does tend to blend into the crowd, explaining when she and Shane walk down the street together “no-one stares. We’re very local and people are pretty used to seeing us.”
Sydneysiders often refer to those living on their Northern Beaches as being “insular on the peninsula”, and Anne certainly fits that mould.
The three-time Logie winner is known for turning down most interview requests. She rarely takes part in reunions for the many shows she’s been a part of, and also avoids red carpets and the glaring spotlights of glitzy showbiz opening nights.
Instead, she likes to chill at home with Shane, 65, whenever he’s not busy filming Home and Away. It was once rumoured that Anne turned down a role on the soap!
She also enjoys spending time with friends, both new and old, including her former A Country Practice co-stars Georgie Parker, Kate Raison, Jo Mitchell and Di Smith.
Like A Country Practice’s Molly – who was lovingly nicknamed ‘Mad Molly’ – Anne is a devout crusader for the environment, and relishes being in nature. Recently, she took part in an all-woman outback camel safari with Camel Treks Australia.
In an Instagram video shared by the company, a luminous Anne was seen laughing as one of the trek directors quoted “tell ’em they’re dreaming” from The Castle.
“It was a bit of a surprise to see Anne pop up in that video,” says a source. “But then again, she likely didn’t think too many people would see it. And when it comes to The Castle fans, Anne is always a good sport.”
In a rare interview with the Australian Women’s Weekly in March 2017 to mark the film’s 20th anniversary, Anne admitted that, when she is recognised on the odd occasion, it’s likely a The Castle fan who has spotted her.
“People still come up to me and quote The Castle. They know it by heart,” Anne told the publication.
Calling the film’s script “perfect”, Anne says she was “in” the moment she read it.
“It worked right from the word go. There were no changes; there was no add-libbing,” she shared.
“Sal’s a gentle person. She has this unerring faith in her husband – she adores him – and an unconditional love for her family. The film is a fairytale in a lot of ways.”
Unwavering love and support for her husband is something Anne shares with Sal Kerrigan. Like Anne, Shane is an active environmentalist. He led a gruelling 15-year campaign to preserve the historic former Unions NSW Currawong workers’ retreat, and save it from developers.
The actor’s tireless campaign was successful and the site was returned to public hands. Shane did however admit it took a personal toll on her and his family, and it’s widely suspected the campaign contributed, in part, to Anne shunning the limelight.
Of course, Anne continues to act, although she mainly focuses on theatre work. She still makes the odd television appearance, usually in small roles that don’t require she do any publicity.
Last month she appeared briefly in an episode of RFDS’ second season, and was also in Underbelly: The Vanishing Act and Back to the Rafters.
“Hopefully one day Anne will take on another big role again,” says a source. “Aussies love and miss her!”