Catherine Schell

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Catherine Schell
Guido de Moor, Catherine von Schell en Piet Römer (1967).jpg
Guido de Moor, Catherine von Schell and Piet Römer (1967)
Born Katherina Freiin Schell von Bauschlott
(1944-07-17) 17 July 1944 (age 70)
Budapest, Hungary
Nationality British
Other names Catherine von Schell
Katherina von Schell
Katherine von Schell
Alma mater Otto Falckenberg School of the Performing Arts
Occupation Television and film actress
Years active 1964–2004
Television Space: 1999
Spouse(s) William Marlowe (m. 1968; div. 1977)
Bill Hays (m. 1982; died 2006)
Parents Baron Paul Schell von Bauschlott
Countess Katharina Maria Etelka Georgina Elisabeth Teleki de Szék
Website
catherineschell.co.uk

Catherine Schell (born Katherina Freiin Schell von Bauschlott, 17 July 1944) is a Hungarian-born actress best known for her work in British television, in particular her portrayal of Maya in the science-fiction series Space: 1999.

Schell came to prominence in various British film and television productions of the 1960s and 1970s. Although she acted under the name "Catherine von Schell" and "Katherina von Schell" ("Schell" is the family name; "von Bauschlott" indicates the region of Germany where the Schell family originated) early in her career, she is better known by the name "Catherine Schell". She is not related to the Austrian-Swiss actor siblings Maximilian and Maria Schell.

Early life[edit]

Schell's father, Baron Paul Schell von Bauschlott, was a Hungarian diplomat; her mother was Countess Katharina Maria Etelka Georgina Elisabeth Teleki de Szék. At the start of the Second World War, her parents' estates were confiscated by the Nazis.

Fleeing Hungary in advance of the Russians and Communism, the family lived in poverty until 1948, finding asylum in Austria: first in Vienna, then in Salzburg. In 1950, the family emigrated to the United States, where Schell's father acquired American citizenship.

Schell entered a convent school in the New York City borough of Staten Island. In 1957, her father joined Radio Free Europe and the family moved to Munich, Germany, where Schell developed an interest in acting and attended the Otto Falckenberg School of the Performing Arts.[citation needed]

Career[edit]

Film[edit]

Under the name Katherina von Schell, she made her film debut in 1964 as the title character in the little-known German-language film Lana: Queen of the Amazons (German: Lana - Königin der Amazonen). In 1969, she appeared as Bond girl Nancy in the George Lazenby James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service (credited as Catherina von Schell), and as Clementine Taplin in the science-fiction thriller Moon Zero Two. In 1972, she appeared for the first time under the name Catherine Schell in Madame Sin, an American television film starring Bette Davis.

In 1975, she appeared opposite Peter Sellers in the comedy The Return of the Pink Panther as Lady Claudine Lytton. It is frequently claimed that her tendency to break into uncontrollable laughter at Sellers' antics as Inspector Clouseau spoiled many takes. The final print of the film repeatedly shows Schell attempting to stifle laughter at Sellers' behaviour, both at the Lytton residence and during the nightclub bar scene. Although these scenes are frequently offered as classic examples of corpsing, Schell has maintained in interviews that she considered it in character for Lady Lytton to be amused by Clouseau, whom she does not see as a serious threat (made clear during her banter with her on-screen husband at the film's climax in the character's hotel room).

Television[edit]

Schell's first TV credit was Till Eulenspiegel (1967), a West German comedy in which she played Nele and was billed as Katherina von Schell.

Schell spent much of her career in British television, appearing in more than 47 series spanning a period of nearly 30 years. She played regular roles in series such as The Adventurer, One by One, Mog and Wish Me Luck, in addition to many guest appearances, including The Persuaders!, The Troubleshooters, Arthur of the Britons, Return of the Saint, The Sweeney, The Onedin Line, The Gentle Touch, Lovejoy, Bergerac, The Bill and Howards' Way.

Schell appeared in the science-fiction series Space: 1999 as a robotic servant ("Guardian of Piri", 1975), and returned to the series in its second season as the regular character Maya, a shape-shifting "metamorph" from the planet Psychon. Schell appeared in another British science-fiction series, as Countess Scarlioni in the Doctor Who serial City of Death (1979).

Personal life[edit]

Family[edit]

Schell's brother, Paul Rudolf (born 1940), now known as Paul von Schell, has acted in a number of German-language productions. A younger brother, Peter (1941–68), died young. Through a German great-grandfather, Schell is related to Louis XIV of France (1638–1715), Philip II, Duke of Orléans (1674–1723), Regent of France and Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor (1708–65).[1]

Marriages[edit]

While filming Amsterdam Affair in 1968, Schell met and married her first husband, British actor William Marlowe (1930–2003), and moved to London. The marriage ended in divorce in 1977. Schell married director Bill Hays (1938–2006) in 1982. In 1984, they worked together for the first time as husband and wife on a TV production of Ivan Turgenev's play A Month in the Country.

Retirement[edit]

Schell's career continued into the mid-1990s, after which she retired from acting and opened Chambre d'Hôtes Valentin, a small guesthouse in Bonneval, Haute-Loire, France, which would become a popular destination for fans of Space: 1999. She reportedly sold the inn after the death of her second husband in 2006.

Schell made her first convention appearance MainMission:2000, a celebration of the 25th anniversary of Space: 1999 held in New York City. To date, she has appeared at only one other convention, mainly due to her second husband's declining health.

Schell contributed a foreword to the Space: 1999 novel Born for Adversity, written by David McIntee and published by Powys Media in 2010.

Selected filmography[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]