There are few Home and Away characters who have had as big of an influence on the bright town of Summer Bay as Marilyn Chambers, despite the series’ myriad famous faces and jaw-dropping plotlines.
Marilyn has been a regular on our screens for more than 30 years, dipping in and out of the bay over the decades before settling back in town in 2010. Marilyn is played by the gorgeous Emily Symons.
In 1989, Marilyn made her debut on Home and Away as the “ditzy girl next door.”
She physically slammed into the scene when her lover, Lance Smart (played by Peter Vroom), brought her out on the sea only to collide with Alf Stewart’s boat (the iconic Ray Meagher).
Despite the crash, Marilyn decided to relocate from the city to Summer Bay, and the rest, as they say, is history.
She’s secured her place as the loveable beautician in the bay with her unique haircut, eccentric mannerisms, and a couple serious romances.
Take a trip down memory lane with us as we look back at some of Marilyn’s most memorable scenes from Home and Away.
Back to the beginning! We first met Marilyn when she went on a disastrous date with her lover Lance. Lance hires a boat to impress his girlfriend, but he gets on the incorrect one and crashes into Alf Stewart’s. Yikes.
Despite the turmoil, the two went missing, but Lance subsequently showed up in the harbor without Marilyn, confirming she’d returned home.
Getting settled in Summer Bay
Marilyn reappeared shortly after the accident, proclaiming her intention to stay. Marilyn and Lance faced a rough road ahead of them as he attempted to slow down their fast-paced love.
Despite her romantic problems, Marilyn settled down in the harbor and began making friends with the locals, such as Bobby (Nicolle Dickson, pictured).
Marilyn’s cheery demeanor drew viewers in as she displayed her witty side with one-liners that had viewers laughing, such as when she was asked how she was settling into Summer Bay. “The fragrance of the air, it’s so clean!” Marilyn exclaimed, giggling. It’s quite beneficial to your health. Don’t you believe it’s in figure skating [meaning invigorating]?”
Lance and Marilyn’s love story is difficult
Marilyn wore numerous hats in her early years, from working in the diner to working as Morag’s cleaner. Her will-they-won’t-they relationship with Lance, on the other hand, remained stable.
After several breakups and reunions, their relationship came to a head after one postponed wedding (and the fact that actor Peter Vroom’s time on the program was coming to an end).
Despite the fact that the couple never made it down the aisle, there are photos of them in their wedding attire, which can be found in a vintage edition of TV WEEK.
Principal Don’s marriage
Marilyn returned to Summer Bay after a brief marriage to Phil Bryant and a lengthy leave from the area, and later enrolled in school as a mature student to complete her HSC.
Donald Fisher, the Principal of Summer Bay High, crossed her path here (Norman Coburn). Despite their age difference and quite distinct personalities, the couple married in 1996, surprising everyone.
Marilyn gives birth to a child
Marilyn and Donald were overjoyed to welcome a newborn boy, Byron Vincent, after a loss and reproductive issues. His middle name is a reference to Vinnie Patterson (Ryan Kwanten), who assisted Marilyn as she went into labor.
Byron was tragically diagnosed with cancer only a few months later. The family decided to fly to the United States for medical treatment, since their marriage was threatening to crack under the strain. Donald returned to the bay alone after losing his kid.
It’s time to say our goodbyes
Don and Marilyn reunited in London a year after Don returned to Summer Bay without Marilyn. Finally, the couple concluded that it was time to divorce.
Marilyn would not be seen again until 2010, when she made a brief visit in 2001. Throughout the years, we would hear of her condition.
Marilyn returns to her home
Marilyn returned to Summer Bay in 2010, much to the surprise of Alf and her old friends. She moved in with Alf after he insisted on calling her “family,” and she joined other lodgers Romeo Smith (Luke Mitchell) and Nicole Franklin (Tessa James).
Marilyn met her new love interest, Sid Walker, after starting her own fortune-telling firm (Robert Mammone).
Marilyn and George are a couple
Nicole Franklin, when she found out she was pregnant, opted to offer the baby to Marilyn and Sid for adoption. However, the young mother’s decision was not as simple as it appeared at first.
Nicole agonized with her decision after seeing Marilyn bond with her baby when George was born. Marilyn panicked when she realized she wanted George back and planned to travel to London with him in tow – until Roo Stewart (Georgie Parker) persuaded her to stay and restore George to his mother. For Marilyn and the show’s viewers, it was a painful plot!
In an interview at the time, Emily remarked of the surprising occurrences, “She’s emotionally vulnerable, and we’ve seen her break down and then become extremely determined about protecting George.” “What she does next is completely out of character for her and extremely reckless.”
It’s the third time’s the charm
Marilyn found her happily ever after with John Palmer following her call-off engagement with Lance and divorce from Don. The couple started dating in 2013 and married in a stunning Summer Bay ceremony.
After some trepidation, John’s son Jett (Will McDonald) grew to adore his new stepmother and asked her to adopt him, bringing the two of them together as a family.
An unexpected turn of events
Marilyn was dealt another tragic blow soon after her blissful wedding. She was electrocuted at the Diner, where she was discovered by Roo and Leah, in a “freak accident” (Ada Nicodemou).
Marilyn awoke with amnesia after being taken to the hospital and placed in a coma. She didn’t recognize John and thought she was still married to Don after losing 20 years of memories.
A well-known acquaintance arrives
Ed Sheeran had a guest appearance on Home and Away in 2015, as one of the children Marilyn babysat while living in London. Marilyn had Ed perform for the locals in the Diner after realizing she was in the presence of a world-famous musician.
“It’s an Australian institution,” says the narrator. “In my local chip store, it’s always on,” Ed remarked of his role. “I was invited to do it, and it sounded interesting.
Raffy’s well-being is being looked after
When Raffy (Olivia Deeble) was having problems with her family at home, Marilyn’s maternal instincts kicked in once more.
Despite having a difficult time settling in, moving in and out over the years, the adolescent remained close to her foster parents Marilyn and John until she left.
Another depressing conclusion
Marilyn and John had a lovely marriage in Summer Bay for a while, despite their ups and downs. All wonderful things, however, must come to an end. After six years of marriage, the couple called their quits in 2020. What will be the next chapter in Marilyn’s life? We’re excited to find out!