Ingrid Pitt, 73

Ingrid Pitt, the buxom star of many horror films from British cinema’s golden era of the genre, has died yesterday, November 23, 2010, in London, England. She was 73.

Although she started her career in the mid-1960s with roles in a handful of Spanish films and small, uncredited parts in Doctor Zhivago and A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To The Forum, it was a supporting role in the 1968 classic war film Where Eagles Dare with Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood was her first stepping stone towards stardom.

Pitt’s best known work was in done in the boom of British horror films during the late 1960s and early `70s. For the king of British horror, Hammer Films, Pitt starred in 1970’s The Vampire Lovers, based on Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s novella Camilla, and 1971’s Countess Dracula, which was based on legends surrounding the Countess Elizabeth Bathroy. In 1971 she also appeared in Amicus Studio’s anthology film The House That Dripped Blood. She also had a small role in 1973’s The Wicker Man, which many have called the “Citizen Kane of horror.”

She also appeared in such films as Who Dares Wins, Octopussy, Wild Geese II and Green Fingers. Pitt also made guest appearances on several television series including Ironsides and Doctor Who.

Born in Poland to a mother of Jewish descent, Pitt and her family were interred in a Nazi concentration camp in 1942, when she was five years old. She survived the ordeal and later joined the acting troupe Berliner Ensemble, where she worked under actress Helene Weigel, the widow of German playwright Bertolt Brecht. She eventually fled the political oppression of East Germany and lived for a time in America before heading to Spain and the start of her acting career.

Pitt told in an interviewer in 2006 that it was perhaps her experiences that helped mold her into the horror film icon she became. “I was in a concentration camp as a child and I don’t want to see horror,” Pitt stated. “I think it’s very amazing that I do horror films when I had this awful childhood. But maybe that’s why I’m good at it.”

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About Rich Drees 7221 Articles
A film fan since he first saw that Rebel Blockade Runner fleeing the massive Imperial Star Destroyer at the tender age of 8 and a veteran freelance journalist with twenty-five years experience writing about film and pop culture. He is a member of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle.
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