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|Born||Lynne Maria Frederick
25 July 1954
Hillingdon, Middlesex, England, UK
|Died||27 April 1994
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Peter Sellers (1977–1980)
David Frost (1981–82)
Barry Unger (1982–1991; 1 child)
Lynne Maria Frederick (25 July 1954 – 27 April 1994) was an English film actress, known for her classical beauty and delicate, 'fairytale princess' features. In a career spanning ten years she made about thirty films or television drama appearances, but she is best remembered as the last wife of Peter Sellers. She was married twice after his death.
Frederick was born in Hillingdon, Middlesex to Andrew and Iris (née Sullivan) Frederick. Her mother became a casting director for Thames Television. Lynne's parents separated when she was two, and she was brought up by her mother and her grandmother, Cecilia, at Market Harborough, Leicestershire.
Having originally aspired to becoming a teacher of mathematics and physics, she abandoned her academic pursuits for the stage, and made her film debut as Mary Custance in No Blade of Grass (1970) when she was just 16 years old. She then appeared a year later in the 1971 biographical film Nicholas and Alexandra, in which she played Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna of Russia, second eldest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II. However her best-known appearance came shortly afterwards when she played another historical character, Catherine Howard in Henry VIII and His Six Wives in 1972. Frederick would go on to pursue a successful career in films throughout the 1970s. Her next role was in the 1972 children's film The Amazing Mr. Blunden and in 1973 she won the Evening Standard British Film Award for Best New Actress.
Other notable films included Saul Bass' science fiction thriller Phase IV (1974), the Spanish romance A Long Return (1975), and Schizo (1976). Her last role came in the 1979 film The Prisoner of Zenda, in which she worked with her first husband Peter Sellers. Later, in 1985, she was offered the role of Kumiko in The Karate Kid, Part II. At the time the script was written in mind for an English actress who was to play a half English, half-Japanese village girl adopted by her Japanese aunt. Frederick, who hadn't appeared in a theatrical release since The Prisoner of Zenda in 1979, had been planning an acting comeback for quite some time. Despite her interest in the script, she turned the offer down, preferring instead to concentrate on motherhood as she had given birth to a daughter the previous year.
She was married to Peter Sellers on 18 February 1977 but by 1980 there were signs that the relationship had failed, and the actor was in the process of excluding her from his will a week before he died of a heart attack (on 24 July 1980.) The planned changes to the will not having been finalized, as Sellers' widow she inherited almost his entire estate worth an estimated £4.5 million while Sellers' children were left £800 each. Despite appeals from a number of Sellers' friends to make a fairer settlement to the children, Frederick refused. She reportedly suffered from severe depression because of Sellers's death and attempted suicide numerous times. In her later years she reportedly became obsessed by his memory and kept a shrine to him at the Swiss chalet in Gstaad which she inherited from him. She won nearly $1.5 million in a lawsuit against the makers of the Trail of the Pink Panther (1982), made after Sellers's death, claiming the film tarnished her late husband's memory.
She briefly married David Frost (on 25 January 1981); they divorced 17 months later. She later married a Californian surgeon and heart specialist, Dr. Barry Unger, in December 1982; they were divorced in 1991. By him she had one child, Cassie Unger (b. 1983).
In her later years Lynne's health suffered and on April 27, 1994 she was found dead in her West Los Angeles home, aged 39. Victoria, Peter Sellers's daughter by his previous marriage to Britt Ekland, last saw Lynne three weeks before her death and subsequently stated, "I was so shocked. Lynne was sitting in her kitchen, dressed in a filthy kaftan. She could hardly move. She was swigging vodka directly from a jug with a handle on the side".
There was no evidence of foul play, and although suicide was suspected by some, a post-mortem failed to determine the cause of death. She was survived by her mother, Iris, and her daughter, Cassie. Her remains were cremated at Golders Green Crematorium in London and her ashes were mingled and then interred with those of Peter Sellers. Her estate passed into a trust fund, the Lynne Unger Children's Trust, which was administered by accountants in Santa Monica, California; her daughter was the beneficiary.
- No Blade of Grass (1970) as Mary Custance
- Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) as Tatiana Nikolaevna
- Henry VIII and His Six Wives (1972) as Catherine Howard
- Vampire Circus (1972) as Dora Miller
- The Amazing Mr. Blunden (1972) as Lucy Allen
- Giubbe Rosse (1974) as Elizabeth
- Phase IV (1974) as Kendra Eldbridge
- El vicio y la virtud (1975) as Rosa
- A Long Return (Largo retorno) (1975) as Anna Ortega
- Four of the Apocalypse (1975) as Emmanuella "Bunny" O'Neill
- Schizo (1976) as Samantha Gray
- Voyage of the Damned (1976) as Anna Rosen
- The Prisoner of Zenda (1979) as Princess Flavia
- Comedy Playhouse (1 episode, 1971)
- Fathers and Sons (1 episode, 1971)
- Opportunity Knocks (1 episode, 1972)
- Softly, Softly: Task Force (1 episode, 1972)
- No Exit (1 episode, 1972)
- Away From It All (1 episode, 1973)
- Follyfoot (2 episodes, 1973)
- Wessex Tales (1 episode, 1973)
- The Generation Game (1 episode, 1973)
- Keep an Eye on Denise (1973) as Denise
- The Canterville Ghost (1974) as Virginia Otis
- Masquerade (1 episode, 1974)
- The Pallisers (3 episodes, 1974)
- The Lady from the Sea (1974) as Hilde
- Play for Today (1 episode, 1976)
- Space 1999 (1 episode, 1976) as Shermeen Williams
- Hazlitt in Love (1977) as Sarah Walker
- Tribute to Lynne Frederick: http://lynne-frederick.wifeo.com/biography.php
- Richard Savill, The Telegraph: "Peter Sellers tried to cut fourth wife Lynne Frederick out of his £4.5 million will", 5 November 2009
- Daily Mail, 8 February 2009
- Daily Mail, 8 February 2009
- The Mail Online,David Frost: A Life in Pictures, 12 March 2010
- Obituary in The New York Times, 2 May 1994
- Lynne Frederick at the Internet Movie Database
- Simply Lynne Frederick (Website in English, French and Spanish)
- Fan page
- Tribute to Lynne Frederick