Ingrid Pitt RIP

The first lady of horror dies aged 73

Ingrid Pitt RIP

by James White |
Published on

The world of cult cinema lost an icon yesterday, as Ingrid Pitt died at the age of 73. A veteran of Hammer horror and one of the best-loved genre actresses, she’ll best be remembered for sultry sexiness on screen.

But before she ever graced the cinema, Pitt’s life was filled with real-world drama and not a little horror. Born as Ingoushka Petrov into a chaotic pre-war Poland, the Nazis interned her and her parents in a concentration camp. They survived and she grew up with ambitions towards writing and acting. But on the night she planned to make her stage debut, she found herself under threat again, this time from the Communist East German authorities. After jumping into the River Spree to escape them, she was rescued by an American soldier, who became her first husband.

Film roles in the likes of Sound of Horror and Doctor Zhivago followed, but it was 1968’s Where Eagles Dare that saw her movie career really take of. And then came Hammer – her work on the likes of The Vampire Lovers, Countess Dracula and **The House That Dripped Blood **won her legions of admirers. She also had a small role in The Wicker Man.

Aside from the big screen, she was a prolific writer and also appeared in several TV series, including Smiley’s People and Doctor Who.

But it was on the festival and horror fan circuit where Pitt truly made her name, embracing her fans and her particular brand of fame with gusto. Pitt had been on her way to a birthday dinner a few days ago when she collapsed, and died in hospital. Her husband, daughter and granddaughter survive her.

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