Maura Fay, one of Australia’s leading casting agents and the industry leader in forging ties with Hollywood producers, died Oct. 29 of a stroke in Sydney’s Royal Prince Alfred Hospital. She was 43.

She was managing director of casting and training agency the Maura Fay Group, whose key clients are Coote-Hayes Prods., Village Roadshow Prods. and the local Seven and Nine networks.

Casting mostly small-screen minis and longform series such as “Beastmaster,” “Mission: Impossible” and “The Lost World,” the shingle also sourced actors for advertising and feature films.

Fay started her casting career with TV production house Grundys, then worked with Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd.’s production division before setting up her own agency in Sydney in 1987.

Company employs 30 full-time staff across three divisions — event management, presentation training and casting. Branch offices are in Singapore, Los Angeles, Canberra, Queensland and Melbourne.

By launching the training division in 1990, Fay insured the business against the TV industry downturn that claimed others. The event management business was launched in 1999.

Fay cast the long-running soap “Home and Away” in 1988, with at least three members of the original cast remaining regulars on the show. She introduced Heath Ledger to U.S. auds in “Roar,” cast Frances O’Connor in the Artist’s Services series “Shark Bay” and gave many actors their first break.

Fay’s forays into the U.S. market kept local actors working when the domestic industry was quiet.

Ann Fay, her sister and casting director described as Maura’s “right-hand man,” will remain with the company, which will be run by Fay’s partner for the past decade, Phillip Williams, an independent business consultant. She also leaves a young daughter.

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