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Barbara Shelley, 88 ("Dracula, Prince of Darkness," 1966)
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Lenona
2021-01-04 14:14:24 UTC
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Oddly, almost all the obits I've found so far are from cheap tabloids - and they're not even show-biz tabloids.

https://news.yahoo.com/british-horror-icon-barbara-shelley-dies-at-88-131424627.html
(warning: this includes a big spoiler for The Gorgon, so I left it out)

Excerpts:

Barbara Shelley, the actress dubbed the 'first leading lady of British horror' and star of movies like Dracula: Prince of Darkness and Village of the Damned, has died at the age of 88.

According to reports, she had contracted COVID-19 while in hospital, but it was not the cause of death.

"She really was Hammer’s number one leading lady and the technicolour queen of Hammer,” her agent Thomas Bowington said in a statement.

"On screen she could be quietly evil. She goes from statuesque beauty to just animalistic wildness. She was a regular favourite of Hammer events and autograph shows but also performed on stage with the RSC.

“She adored Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. And loved working with them, that was very dear to her."...

...Many of her early credits found her working in the Italian movie business through the 1950s, for cult directors including Luigi Capuano and Camillo Mastrocinque.

However, it was on her return to the UK and her work for the hugely influential Hammer studio in the late 50s which made her an icon among horror fans, firstly in the 1958 WWII movie The Camp On Blood Island...

...Shelley would go on to appear with Lee in several of Hammer's classic movies, including Dracula: Prince of Darkness in 1966 and playing Sonia in Rasputin, The Mad Monk, lady-in-waiting to the tsarina who is beguiled by Lee's maniacal holy man.

Her last movie for Hammer was the sci-fi classic Quatermass And The Pit in 1967, after which she concentrated her career on theatre and television, having already appeared in the likes of The Saint, Z-Cars, The Man from UNCLE and The Avengers.

She starred in the 1981 BBC series The Borgias, along with Blake's 7 and Doctor Who, in the episode Planet of Fire in 1984, opposite Peter Davison's Doctor.

Shelley also appeared in the likes of Bergerac, Maigret and the 1980 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.

Then in 1988, she made her way to Albert Square, playing the role of Hester Samuels in EastEnders, sister of Doctor Legg...
Big Mongo
2021-01-04 16:31:56 UTC
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Post by Lenona
Oddly, almost all the obits I've found so far are from cheap tabloids - and they're not even show-biz tabloids.
Auntie Beeb just came through with a decent obit...

https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-55531181

Barbara Shelley, Hammer Horror actress, dies aged 88

Tributes have been paid to the Hammer Horror film star and Doctor Who actress Barbara Shelley, who has died aged 88 after contracting Covid-19.

She was best known for appearing in a string of horror films in the 1950s and '60s, including Dracula: Prince of Darkness alongside Christopher Lee.

Her agent, Thomas Bowington, said she was "quietly evil" on screen.

"She really was Hammer's number one leading lady and the technicolour queen of Hammer," he told the PA news agency.

"On screen she could be quietly evil. She goes from statuesque beauty to just animalistic wildness.

"She was a regular favourite of Hammer events and autograph shows but also performed on stage with the RSC [Royal Shakespeare Company]."

Born Barbra Kowin in London in 1932, Shelley started out as a model before beginning her film career in Italy in the mid-1950s.

This led to the London-based Hammer Film Productions giving her roles in such gothic horror features as Blood of the Vampire, The Gorgon and Rasputin: The Mad Monk.

Shelley later appeared in the Doctor Who adventure Planet of Fire, alongside Peter Davison's Doctor.

Nicola Bryant, who played the Doctor's companion Peri, remembered her on Twitter as "a darling person and a talented actress".

"When we worked together on Planet of Fire she was so kind to me," she wrote. "She gave me a little owl, still in my possession, and some good advice."

Shelley's other TV roles included appearances in The Saint, The Avengers and EastEnders, in which she she played Hester Samuels.

Scream queen
Although she was known as a scream queen, Shelley's most famous scream - in the aforementioned Dracula film - was in fact dubbed by co-star Suzan Farmer.

Speaking to the Daily Express in 2009, she described Hammer as being like "a very talented family" that gave its stars access to "a wonderful canteen".

"To work with Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee... I've been more than lucky, I've been honoured," Shelley went on.

"They were so wonderful to work with, both so generous as actors with a wonderful atmosphere on the set and a wonderful sense of humour.

"When we were working, especially with Chris, who's got a great sense of humour, we used to have jokes before and after shooting," she continued.

"Like in Dracula: Prince Of Darkness, where he comes down the stairs hissing. Suzan Farmer and I used to look up and sing 'The Boy I Love Is Up In The Gallery'."

According to her agent, Shelley caught the coronavirus after going into hospital for a check-up and spent two weeks by herself on a ward before Christmas.

"She adored Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing and loved working with them," Thomas Bowington continued. "That was very dear to her."
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