The ex-wife of Sean Connery, Diane Cilento has died in FNQ.

Silver screen actress Diane Cilento, a famed arts lover and one-time wife of Sean Connery, has died in North Queensland at the age of 78.

Queensland Premier Anna Bligh on Friday paid tribute to the renowned actress, who died overnight.

Known as feisty and free-spirited, Cilento won wide acclaim in the 1950s and '60s and was nominated for an Oscar for her role as the seductive Molly in Tom Jones in 1963.

Actress Diane Cilento has died at the age of 78.

Actress Diane Cilento has died at the age of 78. Photo: Chris Beck

She also attracted fame as the wife of Connery, who at that time was playing the iconic James Bond. She later married playwright Anthony Shaffer.

Born on the Sunshine Coast, Cilento began her acting career in New York and London as a teenager and worked in the theatre as a writer, director and instructor.

Later in life she moved back to Queensland to build and run Karnak Playhouse, a regional centre for the arts based at Mossman.

Ms Bligh said Cilento had made a valuable contribution to the arts scene across the state.

"While she was originally known as a glamorous international film star, her work in later years in the far north showed her commitment to the arts," Ms Bligh said.

"I know that Ms Cilento will be sorely missed by many in the industry. I offer my sincere condolences to her family, friends and all those who enjoyed her important contribution to the arts here in Queensland."

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