Deborra-lee Furness is an internationally acclaimed actress as well as a passionate advocate for vulnerable and abandoned children.
A graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York Deborra-lee has won many awards including Best Actress awards from the highly regarded Film Critics Circle of Australia, the Variety Award and Best Actress at Seattle International Film festival for the movie 'Shame'. She received a Best Actress Award at the San Sebastian International Film (Spain) Festival for her role in 'Waiting'. Deborra-lee has appeared in many movies and worked extensively in television and on stage. She was nominated by the Australian Film Institute for her Guest Starring role in 'Sea Change', and for Best Supporting Actress in the Ray Lawrence directed 'Jindabyne'. She won the Film Critics Circle Award of Australia a second time for her portrayal of Jude in 'Jindabyne'.
Deborra-lee’s humanitarian work for children is a driving force in her life. She is Patron of the Lighthouse Foundation for displaced children in Melbourne Australia; Patron of the Bone Marrow Donor Institute for children with leukemia; Patron of International Adoption Families of Queensland. She is also on the boards of Adopt Change Australia, World Wide Orphans Australia and is on the advisory committee for the Global Poverty Project.
Deborra-lee founded National Adoption Awareness Week and Adopt Change in Australia, focusing on improving adoption programs, procedures and legislation, raising awareness and understanding of the issues of vulnerable children. In 2014 NAAW achieved the goal of new legislation being passed by the Australian government to greatly approve procedures surrounding adoption.
For her advocacy work she has been honoured by World Wide Orphans in New York, Joint Council USA and in 2013 was given the prestigious award of Angel in Adoption by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption in Washington DC. The Harlem Village Academies honored Deborra-lee and her husband Hugh for their philanthropy work in 2012.
She was presented with the 2014 International Humanitarian Award in Utah by Mentors International. More recently, she was named NSW Australian of the Year for 2015.