Heather Rose, who got a standing ovation at the 1998 Cannes Film Festival for her performance as Julia in director Rolf de Heer's competition title Dance Me To My Song, died suddenly last week in South Australia a day after her 36th birthday.

She was born with severe cerebral palsy, confined to a wheelchair and had to use a voice machine in order to speak. Nevertheless de Heer's earlier film Bad Boy Bubby inspired her to co-write the film with Frederick Stahl then de Heer. As one critic said, the film "shatters perceptions about having a major disability".

Rose was voted best actress by the Australian Film Critics Circle, which also gave top honours to the screenplay, as did the Australian Film Institute. Dance Me To My Song was voted the second most popular film at both the Melbourne and Brisbane film festivals in 1998.

"It is impossible to overstate the courage of the performance that you saw on the screen," de Heer said at the time the film was released