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Lovely Ladies of Hammer Horror Films

Updated on April 5, 2017
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Glory was starstruck at a young age and fell in love with classic Hollywood movies and movie stars and loves writing about both!

Bosoms and Bloodshed!

When thinking about Hammer's Gothic horror films, it's not uncommon for the names Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee to come to mind. But, you might also find yourself thinking about the bevy of beautiful women who often found themselves menaced by creatures of the undead.

Let's take a look at just a few of these lovely ladies who gained fame and recognition for their contributions to Hammer's horror films.

Ursula Andress

  • The 1965 film She stars Andress as Queen Ayesha (her name translates to She-Who-Waitis) who rules over the kingdom of Kuma. She is waiting for the return on her soul mate,Kallikrates, whom she killed 2,000 years prior when she found him in a passionate embrace with another woman.
  • Andress signed a contract with Paramount Studios without being able to speak any English. When Paramount "forgot" about her, they let her out of her contract and she was signed by Columbia.
  • She then met John Derek in 1955 and went with him around the world on his film making travels.
  • Andress and Derek married in 1957 and divorced in 1966. She had left Derek in 1965 for actor Jean-Paul Belmondo. Their relationship lasted until 1972.

Veronica Carlson

  • Veronica did some theater in college and eventually found a few roles in films and television shows.
  • Her association with Hammer films started when James Carreras saw a photo of her in a newspaper article and offered her a role in the 1968 Dracula Has Risen from the Grave co starring Christopher Lee.
  • She would work in two more Hammer films, Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969) with Peter Cushing and The Horror of Frankenstein (1970) with David Prowse (who would go on to gain fame Darth Vader in the Star Wars trilogy).
  • Veronica married in 1964 and moved to the US where she has a successful career as a painter.

Susan Denberg

Lovely Hammer publicity pose
Lovely Hammer publicity pose
  • Born Dietlinde Zechner in Bad Polzin, Germany, she grew up in Austria. She became a dancer while living in London, and then eventually found her way to the US where she worked as a dancer in Las Vegas. She moved to Los Angeles California in the middle 60's and got a part in an episode of 12 O'Clock High in 1966. She also got a part in Mudd's Women, a Star Trek episode.
  • In the August 1966 issue of Playboy, Susan was that month's Playmate of the Month.
  • Her most famous role was in the 1967 Hammer science fiction horror film, Frankenstein Created Woman. Because her Austrian accent was so thick, her voice was dubbed in the film.
  • A series of untrue rumors surrounded Susan including that she had become addicted to drugs and died of an overdose in 1967. Another rumor is that she became mentally unstable because of drug use. But, rest assured, now at age 70, she is very much alive and well, living in Austria and under her birth name.

Julie Ege

  • In 1958 at the age of 15 Julie started modeling and by the time that 1962 rolled around she found herself crowned Miss Norway and was in Florida competing in the Miss Universe contest.
  • In 1967, she found herself in England working as an au pair mainly for the help in improving her English skills. Several months later, she was chosen as a model for Penthouse magazine.
  • In 1971 she was cast in the Hammer film Creatures the World Forgot as sexy cave girl Nala. She wasn't happy with the role, saying that she was made to wear an awful wig and bikini and was smeared with dirt. Sir James Carreras thought that she was the perfect candidate for the tile of The New Sex Symbol of the 70s, but the film that was meant to show of her sex symbol qualities failed at the box office.
  • Also In 1971, she was cast as Voluptua in Up Pompeii, the big screen version of Frankie Howerd's TV series. In 1974, she was back at work at Hammer starring in Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires.
  • In the 1980s she gave up acting and trained to become a nurse.
  • Julie died on April 29, 2008 at age 64.

Jenny Hanley

  • Born into a family of actors, her mother being Dinah Sheridan and her father, the late actor Jimmy Hanley, it seemed only natural that she would follow in their footsteps.
  • Her first feature film was the 1968 British drama, Joanna. In 1969, she got a role in the James Bond film, On Her Majesty's Secret Service. She was one of Blofeld's Angels of Death, one of 12 pretty women the world over being brainwashed into helping spread the deadly Virus Omega which will sterilize the world's food supply, unless of course certain conditions were met.
  • In 1970, she got a small role in the film The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes.
  • But, her biggest claim to fame is working in the 1970, Scars of Dracula as Sarah Framsen, a Hammer horror film.


Imogen Hassall

  • Lovely Imogen was probably best known for her sexy persona than her acting skills. Dubbed the Queen of Cleavage by London tabloids, she was an international starlet working in B films like Hammer's When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth (1970). She starred in the twentieth Carry On film, Carry On Loving (1970), Incense for the Damned (1970). She also made appearances in the TV series The Saint, The Avengers and The Persuaders!
  • Sadly, the 38 year old actress, was found dead on November 16, 1980 at her cottage in Wimbledon, London, England, having committed suicide. Sources close to the actress said she had been suffering depression because of her inability to shed her sex symbol image and find work in films. She also was depressed over the failure of her second marriage to actor Andrew Knox. the couple having been married from January 1979 to May 1979. She described the union as having been "a total farce".


Caroline Munro

  • Caroline is an actress and singer who has starred in a variety of movie roles in the 70s and 80s. She started out as a model at age 17 with some work for Vogue magazine. She moved to London to pursue her modeling career and eventually became a very popular model for fashion and TV advertisements. She then managed to get very small parts in films, that pretty much used her just for the fact she was attractive.
  • She signed a contract with Paramount Studio and starred as Richard Widmark's daughter in the 1969 film A Talent For Loving.
  • In 1971, she would star alongside horror master Vincent Price in the film The Abominable Dr. Phibes as Victoria Regina Phibes. She was uncredited in the film and did return for the 1972 sequel Dr. Phibes Rises Again.
  • In 1972, while working in the Hammer horror film, Dracula A.D. 1972, she decided that she wanted to work as an actress full time. Up to that point she had was better known for her modeling career than for acting. She would work in one more Hammer Studio production, Captain Kronos-Vampire Hunter in 1974.

Ingrid Pitt

  • Born as Ingoushka Petrov in Poland in 1937 to a German father and Polish mother, she and her family found themselves imprisoned in a concentration camp for three years during World War II. (Although in some interviews Ingrid stated that much that was written about her life in Poland was nonsense and complete drivel made up for publicity by Hollywood studios). (1)
  • She began acting on the stage in East Berlin. Her film debut, uncredited though, was in the 1965 Orson Wells directed film, Falstaff-Chimes at Midnight. She would also have another uncredited role in Doctor Zhivago also from 1965.
  • In 1968 she got the role of Heidi in the Clint Eastwood film, Where Eagles Dare. The executives at Hammer saw her work, and thought she was perfect for the role of Mircalla, the seductive vampire in their 1970 film The Vampire Lovers. In 1971 she was cast as Countess Elisabeth Nádasdy in Countess Dracula, another Hammer film.
  • In 1971, she starred in the anthology movie The House That Dripped Blood. Her screen time came in the fourth installment titled The Cloak co starring Jon Pertwee.
  • She would continue to work into the 2000s, mostly TV appearances. She was also a fan favorite at many of the horror conventions and fan gatherings.
  • Ingrid died at age 73, on November 23, 2010, just a few days after her birthday.

References:

(1) Blakely, Thomas. "Ingrid Pitt Debunks Publicity." The Pittsburgh Press 16 Feb. 1969: 13. Print.

Madeline Smith

  • Madeline began her career as a model in the 60s which eventually led to her getting parts in films, theater and television.
  • Her first Hammer film was the 1969 Taste the Blood of Dracula (which was banned in some countries for being too violent and indecent). In 1970, she worked in The Vampire Lovers which was some what daring for it's time depicting the idea of lesbian vampires. In 1972 (though released in 1974) she had a role in Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell.
  • Branching out from horror, she had a role in Live and Let Die, Roger Moore's first outing as James Bond. She was credited as "Beautiful Girl". Moore recommended Madeline for the role after he had worked with her in an episode of his TV series, The Persuaders!.
  • After giving birth to a daughter, she decided that she would cut down on the amount of films and TV to spend more time with her family. Her husband, actor David Buck, died of cancer in 1989. Madeline has since returned to the world of acting in 2011 in an episode of the BBC1 series Doctors.

Raquel Welch

  • You might not remember it, but Raquel worked in the Hammer film, One Million Years B.C.. While she was under contract to 20th Century Fox, they loaned her to Hammer Films and the result was the adventure fantasy film filed with dinosaurs and cavemen.
  • Supposedly, the role of Loana, played by Welch had first been offered to Ursula Andress who turned it down because of salary demands.
  • The publicity photos of Welch wearing a fur-lined bikini made her into one of the 60s most popular pin-up queens.
  • The movie was one of four films from Hammer that had a prehistoric theme as opposed to horror.

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