Barbara Steele

Barbara Steele (born 29 December 1937) is a British film actress and producer. Famous for her starring in Italian Gothic horror films of the 1960s, her breakthrough performance was in Black Sunday (1960), where she played the dual role of Asa and Princess Katia Vajda.

Barbara Steele
Steele in a 1965 publicity photo
Born (1937-12-29) 29 December 1937[1]
Birkenhead, Cheshire, England
NationalityEnglish
Occupation
  • Actress
  • producer
Years active1958–present
Spouse(s)
James Poe
(m. 1969; div. 1978)
Children1

Additionally, Steele had supporting parts in Federico Fellini's (1963), and appeared on television in the 1991 miniseries Dark Shadows. Steele has appeared in several films in the 2010s, including a lead role in The Butterfly Room (2012) and supporting role in Ryan Gosling's Lost River (2014).

Early life

Steele was born in Birkenhead, Cheshire, England.[2] She studied art at the Chelsea Art School and in Paris at the Sorbonne.[2]

Career

Steele guest starred on various British television shows including the spy drama, Danger Man (aka Secret Agent) starring Patrick McGoohan. She made her American television debut in 1960 as Dolores in the "Daughter of Illusion" episode of the ABC series, Adventures in Paradise, starring Gardner McKay. In that same year she was replaced by Barbara Eden in the Elvis Presley film Flaming Star after a disagreement with director Don Siegel. In 1961, she appeared as Phyllis in the "Beta Delta Gamma" episode of CBS's Alfred Hitchcock Presents. She also had an important role in Federico Fellini's celebrated in 1963, and in 1966 appeared in the second-season episode of NBC's I Spy, "Bridge of Spies".

During the 1960s, Steele starred in a string of Italian horror films, including Black Sunday (1960), The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1962), The Ghost (1963), The Long Hair of Death (1964), Castle of Blood (1964), Terror-Creatures from the Grave and Nightmare Castle (both 1965). She also starred in Roger Corman's 1961 adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's short story The Pit and the Pendulum and the British film Curse of the Crimson Altar (1968).

Steele returned to the horror genre in the later 1970s, appearing in three horror films: David Cronenberg's Shivers (a.k.a. They Came From Within) (1975), Piranha (1978), and Silent Scream (1979).[3]

Steele served as associate producer of the 1983 TV miniseries, The Winds of War, and was a producer for its 1988 sequel, War and Remembrance, for which she shared the 1989 Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama/Comedy Special with executive producer Dan Curtis.

Steele was cast as Julia Hoffman in the 1991 remake of the 1960s ABC television series Dark Shadows. In 2010, she was a guest star in the Dark Shadows audio drama, The Night Whispers.

In 2010, actor-writer Mark Gatiss interviewed Steele about her role in Black Sunday for his BBC documentary series A History of Horror.[4][5] In 2012, Gatiss again interviewed Steele about her role in Shivers for his follow-up documentary, Horror Europa. In 2014, she appeared in Ryan Gosling's directorial debut, the drama-fantasy thriller film Lost River,[6] in which she portrayed the character Belladonna in a supporting role.[7]

Personal life

Steele was married to American screenwriter James Poe.[1] They were married in 1969 and divorced in 1978.

Filmography

Film

Year Title Role Notes
1958 Bachelor of Hearts Fiona [8]
1959 The 39 Steps Extra Uncredited
1959 Sapphire Student
1959 The Heart of a Man Girl Scenes deleted
1959 Upstairs and Downstairs Mary
1960 Flaming Star Roslyn Pierce Scenes deleted
1960 Your Money or Your Wife Juliet Frost [9]
1960 Black Sunday Asa Vajda, Princess Katia Vajda [10]
1961 The Pit and the Pendulum Elizabeth Barnard Medina [11]
1962 Il capitano di ferro N/A [12][13]
1962 The Horrible Dr. Hichcock Cynthia [14][14]
1963 Gloria Morin [15]
1963 The Hours of Love Leila [16]
1963 The Ghost Margaret [17]
1964 The Long Hair of Death Helen Karnstein, Mary Karnstein [18]
1964 I maniaci Barbara/signora Brugnoli
1964 A Sentimental Attempt Silvia
1964 Castle of Blood Elisabeth Blackwood [19]
1964 White Voices Giulia [20]
1965 I soldi
1965 Nightmare Castle Muriel [21]
1965 Terror-Creatures from the Grave Cleo Hauff [22]
1965 Once Upon a Tractor N/A Short film[23][24]
1966 L'armata Brancaleone Teodora [25][26]
1966 The She Beast Veronica [27][28]
1966 Young Törless Bozena [29]
1966 An Angel for Satan Harriet Montebruno / Belinda [30]
1968 Curse of the Crimson Altar Lavinia Morley [31]
1974 Caged Heat Superintendent McQueen [32]
1975 Shivers Betts [33]
1977 I Never Promised You a Rose Garden Idat Scenes deleted
1978 Pretty Baby Josephine [34]
1978 Piranha Dr. Mengers [35]
1980 Silent Scream Victoria Engels [36]
2012 The Butterfly Room Ann [37][38]
2014 Lost River Grandmother [39][40]
2016 Le Fantôme N/A Short film[41]
2016 Minutes Past Midnight The Apparition of the Mill

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1955 Dial 999 Toni Miller 1 episode
1961 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Phyllis 1 episode
1964 Les baisers Thelma 1 episode
1972 Night Gallery The Widow Craighill 1 episode
1983 The Winds of War Mrs. Stoller Miniseries
1988 War and Remembrance Elsa MacMahon Miniseries
1991 Dark Shadows Dr. Julia Hoffman / Countess Natalie Du Pres Miniseries

References

  1. "Barbara Steele". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 15 January 2009. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  2. Frank 1982, p. 175.
  3. Hogan 1997, p. 309.
  4. Clarke, Donald. "Mark Gatiss's History of Horror". The Irish Times. Archived from the original on 5 November 2010. Retrieved 2 November 2010.
  5. "A History of Horror with Mark Gatiss – Home Counties Horror Ep 2/3". BBC. 18 October 2010.
  6. "Lost River". BD. 18 February 2015.
  7. "Lost River". BD. 18 February 2015.
  8. "Bachelor of Hearts". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on 3 April 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  9. "Your Money or Your Wife". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on 3 April 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  10. Curti 2015, p. 37.
  11. "The Pit and the Pendulum". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on 3 April 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  12. "Release". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 14 November 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  13. "Cast". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 13 November 2012. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  14. Curti 2015, p. 68.
  15. "8½". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on 3 April 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  16. "The Hours of Love". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on 3 April 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  17. Curti 2015, p. 88.
  18. Curti 2015, p. 124.
  19. Curti 2015, p. 109.
  20. "White Voices". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on 3 April 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  21. Curti 2015, p. 143.
  22. Curti 2015, p. 149.
  23. "Release". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 15 January 2009. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  24. "Cast". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 15 January 2009. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  25. "Release". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 3 September 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  26. "Cast". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 3 September 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2019.
  27. Halligan 2003, p. 49.
  28. "The She Beast". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on 2 April 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  29. "Young Törless". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on 2 April 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  30. Curti 2015, p. 155.
  31. "The Crimson Cult". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on 2 April 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  32. "Caged Heat!". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on 2 April 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2019.
  33. "Parasite Murders". Collections Canada. 12 May 2015. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  34. "Pretty Baby". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on 2 April 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  35. "Piranha]". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on 2 April 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  36. "Silent Scream". American Film Institute. Archived from the original on 2 April 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  37. "Butterfly Room (The)". BIFFF Official Website. Brussels International Fantasy Film Festival. Archived from the original on 3 April 2012.
  38. Newman, Kim (12 December 2012). "The Butterfly Room". Screen Daily. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  39. "Lost River". Cannes Film Festival. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  40. "Inside Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Premiere in Cannes (Photos)". The Wrap. 20 May 2014. Retrieved 29 July 2019.
  41. "Award-Winning Actor Mads Mikkelsen Stars in New Short Film 'Le Fantome' For Fored Edge Campaign". Ford. 16 October 2016. Retrieved 29 July 2019.

Works cited

  • Curti, Roberto (2015). Italian Gothic Horror Films: 1957-1969. McFarland. ISBN 978-1476619897.
  • Frank, Alan G. (1982). The Horror Film Handbook. Barnes & Noble. ISBN 978-0-389-20260-8.
  • Halligan, Benjamin (2003). Michael Reeves. Manchester University Press. ISBN 0719063515.
  • Hogan, David J. (1997). Dark Romance: Sexuality in the Horror Film. McFarland. ISBN 978-0-786-40474-2.
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