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Susannah York (1939 - 2011)
Susannah signing my photograph
Susannah York was born as Susannah Yolande Fletcher in London in 1939 and grew up in rural Scotland. She trained at th
I met actress Susannah York at Autographica held in London, in October 2008. She signed a photograph for me and I then had my photo taken with her. I met her again at Autographica in 2010.
the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art and won their Ronson and Athene Seyler Awards. In her early professional career she performed classical repertory and pantomime.
Her big break came in 1960 with her first film, the classic war drama Tunes of Glory starring Alec Guinness.
Susannah York & Duncan Macrae in
Tunes of Glory
With her attractive looks looks and exceptional acting talent, Susannah York quickly shot to fame and many leading roles followed. Her first really significant film role came in 1961 with the film The Greengage Summer, where she played a school girl, Joss Grey, discovering her sexual power during holidays in France.
The Greengage Summer
Susannah York & Elizabeth Dear in
Susannah York in Tom Jones
Susannah York & Paul Scofield in
A Man for All Seasons
The Killing of Sister George
The Killing of Sister George
Coral Browne & Susannah York in
Susannah York & Beryl Reid in
still remains popular and highly
appreciated by many, forty years after it was made.
Susannah York in Battle of Britain
Susannah York's performance as Alice LeBlanc opposite Jane Fonda in the Depression-era dance-marathon film They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969) earned her a BAFTA for Best Supporting Actress and an Oscar nomination. She famously snubbed this, saying that it offended her to be nominated without being asked!
Susannah York & Stanley Baker in
Sands of the Kalihari
Susannah York in
They Shoot Horses, Don't They?
Some of her best loved early films include the bawdy 18th century tale Tom Jones (1963) with Albert Finney; the multi-a
multi-award winning A Man For All Seasons (1966) and the lesbian black-comedy with Beryl Reid The Killing of Sister George (1968). York hated doing the lesbian scenes and made life very difficult for co-star Coral Browne and director Robert Aldrich. Another film made at this point in Susannah York's career was Battle of Britain (1969). Directed by Guy Hamilton (who directed some of the James Bond films), it
In 1970, York was Emmy-nominated for her TV role in Jane Eyre, with George C Scott as Rochester. For many people, York's impeccable performance makes her the definitive Jane Eyre.
George C Scott & Susannah York in
Two years later, York won a Cannes Film Festival Best Actress award for her performance in Robert Altman's controversial Images (1972) as Cathryn, a troubled character barely coping with reality.
Susannah York in:
1 - A Man for All Seasons (1966)
2 - The 7th Dawn (1964)
3 - Freud (1962)
4 - Duffy (1968)
5 - Oh! What a Lovely War (1969)
6 - Gold (1974)
Since then, York has divided her time between challenging, offbeat films like The Maids (1974) with Glenda Jackson The
Susannah York & John Hurt in The Shout
Susannah York & Glenda Jackson
Publicity shot for The Maids
Susannah York & Marlon Brando in Superman
Outside acting, York is also a successful writer. In the 1970s she wrote the children's books Lark's Castle and In Search of Unicorns, a good deal of which was used in the fil
and The Shout (1978) with Alan Bates & John Hurt, along with box office hits such as the first two Superman films, in which she played Superman's Kryptonian mother.
film Images. She also wrote the screenplay for Falling in Love Again (1980). Since then she has edited an anti-war anthology The Big One and published a companion book to her one-person show The Loves of Shakespeare's Women.
On stage she has performed in several one-woman shows including Independent State, Picasso's Women, and The Human Voice, whilst other theatre work has included Peter Pan (title role); Shake
success in 1996 was the RSC's Stratford-on-Avon production of Tennessee Williams' Camino Real with Peter Egan and Leslie Phillips. In 2008 she starred in Paul Minx's new play Walking on Water at the White Bear, a fringe theatre in south London.
Shakespeare's Hamlet and The Merry Wives of Windsor; Daphne Du Maurier's September Tide; Noel Coward's Private Lives and the title role in David Hare's Amy's View. A notable suc
Susannah York in The
Loves of Shakespeare's Women
Susannah York in Camino Real
Susannah York & Sarah Berger in
Walking On Water
More recently, Susannah York has appeared in a number of TV series including Holby City (2003), Casualty (2004) and Doctors (2010). On the big screen she had a cameo part in the comedy The Gigolos (2006), filmed around many London locations.
Peter Egan, Leslie Phillips &
Susannah York in The Gigolos
In 1960, Susannah York married the writer Michael Wells (they divorced in 1976), with whom she had two children, Orlando and Sasha. In the 1984 TV adaptation of A Christ
Politically, she was left wing and supported the dissident Israeli nuclear whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu. In 2007 she controversially dedicated a Tel Aviv performance of The Loves of Shakespeare's Women to Vanunu, drawing both cheers and jeers from the audience!
Susannah York and Michael Wells
Susannah signed this photo for me at Autographica
In July 2010, Susannah played the part of Jean Horton in Ronald Harwood's play Quartet. It is set in a retirement home where four former opera stars relive their former glory days and perform the Quartet from Verdi's opera Rigoletto. This br
Susannah York as Jean Horton in Quartet
Ciaran Brown with actresses Susannah York & Tippi Hedren
at Autographica in May 2010
brilliant play toured a number of theatres including Nottingham's Theatre Royal where I met Susannah afterwards and told her how very much I had enjoyed it. She signed my programme 'Ciaran again' because I have now met her several times!
Susannah signed my programme
for the play Quartet
Susannah's latest TV appearances have
have been in two BBC series - as an Alzheimers sufferer, Lorna Robson, in Doctors (2010) and as a headmistress, Marjorie Claye, in Missing (2010).
Pauline Quirke, Felix Scott & Susannah York in Missing
Christmas Carol she played Mrs. Cratchit with Sasha and Orlando co-starring as Cratchit offspring!
Susannah York as Lorna Robson in Doctors
In a Sunday Mirror article in 1999 (see link below), Susannah York admits to having a very vicious, quick temper - on one occasion in 1962, she laid into film di
film director John Huston during the filming of Freud.
Susannah York died on 15th January 2011.
Ciaran Brown with Susannah York at Autographica, held in
Birmingham, in May 2010
Ciaran Brown with Susannah York outside the Theatre Royal
Nottingham, after the performance of Quartet (July 2010)