News through the office this morning of the passing of British actress Ingrid Pitt, star of such films as The Vampire Lovers (apropos in today’s somewhat vampire-centric cultural headspace), Where Eagles Dare, and The Wicker Man. Pitt was born Ingoushka Petrov to Polish parents, and after surviving the concentration camps in World War II, moved to California after meeting an American soldier in Berlin. She moved back to Europe after her marriage failed, but then returned to Hollywood when the film industry beckoned.
Pitt appeared in a minor role in Doctor Zhivago, before more prominant roles in The Omegans and Where Eagles Dare. She appeared in numerous Hammer Horror films over the years, which is where her iconic screen status was born. The Vampire Lovers, released in 1970, and Countess Dracula, the following year, were stepping stones for the young actress. Roles on stage also beckoned, including performances in productions of Dial M For Murder and Women Of Straw, as well as television appearances in Doctor Who and Ironside.
A period away from the screen post-1988 saw her write numerous books, before a return to the film industry with The Asylum, followed by Green Fingers and most recently Sea of Dust.
Ingrid Pitt collapsed in a London alley on her way to a fan event, and passed away from heart failure on November 23, a few days later.