This was to be the start of my second obituary of today but luckily it’s back to only one…back to the sad news at hand. The fabulous and beautiful Hammer horror heroine Barbara Shelley has passed away. She was 88.
Shelley’s agent Thomas Bowington reported the news that she passed away early today in the UK after contracting coronavirus.
She was a renowned actress who began her career in British cinema in the mid-1950s. She started her long stint in the horror genre with the 1957 shocker Cat Girl. She began her illustrious career with Hammer with The Camp on Blood Island (1958). But it wasn’t until 1964 that she cemented her legend status with Hammer Films when she starred in The Gorgon with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.
Shelley went on to star in the Hammer productions of Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966) again with Christopher Lee and in Rasputin: The Mad Monk (1966) with Lee for a third time. Other notable Hammer appearances were in Quatermass and the Pit (1967), The Secret Of Blood Island (1965), and The Shadow Of The Cat (1961).
But it wasn’t only Hammer horror in which Shelley made her mark in. She starred in the classic films, Blood Of The Vampire (1958) and Village Of The Damned (1960).
She also worked in British and American television in numerous projects. Some of those projects included The Invisible Man (TV Series) in 1959, Suspense (TV Series) (1962), The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre (TV Series) (1962), The Saint (TV Series) (1962), Route 66 (TV Series) (1963), The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (TV Series) (1965), The Avengers (TV Series) (1961), Doctor Who (TV Series) (1984), and her last major role in 1989’s Uncle Silas (TV Mini-Series).
She was born Barbara Kowin on February 13, 1932, in London, England. After her retirement, she pursued other interests including interior design.
Barbara Shelley was a major influence on me during my informative younger years in horror. She was known as the leading lady of Hammer Horror for many years and she accomplished everything with grace and style that befitted a Queen.
Barbara Shelley will be greatly missed by fans and friends alike, but her work will live on indefinitely for future generations of horror fans to adore.
Everyone at Horror Patch would like to offer our sincerest condolences to Ms. Shelley’s family, friends, and fans. Sleep in heavenly peace!