Anne Heywood

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Anne Heywood
Peck Heywood The Chairman (cropped).jpg
Heywood in The Chairman, 1969
Violet Joan Pretty

(1931-12-11) 11 December 1931 (age 91)
Years active1951–1989
(m. 1960; died 1988)
George Danzig Druke
(m. 1991)
ChildrenMark Stross (b. 1963)

Anne Heywood (born Violet Joan Pretty; 11 December 1931) is a British retired film actress, who is best known for her Golden Globe-nominated performance in The Fox.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

Born as Violet Joan Pretty in 1931[2] to Harold and Edna E. (née Lowndes) Pretty in Handsworth, Birmingham, she won the Miss Great Britain title under her real name in 1950.[3]

In 1947, aged 15, she joined Highbury Little Theatre in Sutton Coldfield and then won a Birmingham University Carnival Queen competition. She then entered a National Bathing Beauty Contest and won. She had a small role in Lady Godiva Rides Again (1951).[4]

She made three TV appearances on the Carroll Levis TV Show and then spent four years touring UK theatres. Later she also attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. She had a small part in the comedy Find the Lady (1956).[5]

Rank Organisation[edit]

Heywood was signed to the Rank Organisation, who changed her name to Anne Heywood and gave her small roles in Checkpoint (1956) and Doctor at Large (1957). The Danziger Brothers borrowed her for the lead in The Depraved (1957).

Rank gave Heywood the second female lead in Dangerous Exile (1957) and she was the female lead in Violent Playground (1958) with Stanley Baker, which established her as a film name.[6] She made Floods of Fear (1958) with Howard Keel. Herbert Wilcox used her as Frankie Vaughan's leading lady in The Heart of a Man (1959), then for Rank she starred in a romantic comedy Upstairs and Downstairs (1959). She was loaned to an Italian company for the historical costume drama Carthage in Flames (1960).[citation needed]

Raymond Stross[edit]

Heywood starred in the war movie A Terrible Beauty (1960) opposite Robert Mitchum. It was produced by Raymond Stross, who married Heywood. She starred in some British comedies, Petticoat Pirates (1961) and Stork Talk (1962) then did three thrillers produced by Stross: The Brain (1962), The Very Edge (1963), and 90 Degrees in the Shade (1965).

Heywood was making High Jungle for MGM with Eric Fleming but the film was cancelled when Fleming drowned.[7]

Heywood starred in The Fox (1967), a film adaptation of a D. H. Lawrence novel, produced by Stross. co-starring Sandy Dennis. It which caused controversy at the time due to its lesbian theme and nudity from Heywood.[8] It was also a huge hit. A newspaper referred to her and Stross as the "English Carlo Pontis."[9]

Heywood went to Italy to play a nun in The Lady of Monza (1969), playing The Nun of Monza, then did a movie with Richard Crenna produced by Stross, Midas Run (1969).[10][11] She was second-billed in an espionage adventure film with Gregory Peck, The Chairman (1969) but she was only on screen for five minutes.[12] She was mentioned as a possible star of Myra Breckinridge (1970), but did not appear in the final film.[13]

Later career[edit]

Heywood in The Nun and the Devil (1973)

Heywood starred in I Want What I Want (1972), a box-office and critical flop produced by Stross, then went to Italy for the giallo film The Killer Is on the Phone (1972) and The Nun and the Devil (1973), again as a nun. In Hollywood, she was the female lead in Trader Horn (1973), a failed remake of a 1931 classic film, then she returned to Italy for Love Under the Elms (1974).[14]

She starred in Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff (1979), produced by Stross.[15] and in the Italian satanic horror Ring of Darkness (1979). Both films were failures. She then had supporting roles in Sadat (1981) and the science fiction film What Waits Below (1984). Her career declined in the 1980s. Her penultimate role was in a two-part episode of the popular United States television series The Equalizer, which starred British actor Edward Woodward, in 1988. She played Manon Brevard Marcel.

After the death of Stross in 1988, she retired from acting.[16]

Personal life[edit]

Heywood was married to producer Raymond Stross, who produced most of her films, including A Terrible Beauty, The Brain, The Very Edge, Ninety Degrees in the Shade, The Fox, Midas Run, I Want What I Want, and Good Luck Miss Wyckoff.

After Stross died in 1988, Heywood retired and has never appeared on screen since. In 1990, she married her second husband, George Danzig Druke, a former Assistant Attorney General of New York State, who died on 7 October 2021 in Beverly Hills, at the age of 98.[17] Heywood resides in Beverly Hills, California.


Year Film Role Notes
1951 Lady Godiva Rides Again Dorothy Marlowe (beauty contestant) (as Violet Pretty)
1956 Find the Lady Receptionist
Checkpoint Gabriela
1957 The Depraved Laura Wilton
Doctor at Large Emerald
Dangerous Exile Glynis
1958 Violent Playground Catherine Murphy
1959 The Heart of a Man Julie
Floods of Fear Elizabeth Matthews
Upstairs and Downstairs Kate
1960 Carthage in Flames Fulvia
A Terrible Beauty Neeve Donnelly
1961 Petticoat Pirates Chief Officer Anne Stevens
1962 Stork Talk Lisa Vernon
The Brain Anna Holt
1963 The Very Edge Tracey Lawrence
1965 Ninety Degrees in the Shade Alena Nominated – Golden Globe Nominee for Best English-Language Foreign Film
1967 The Fox Ellen March Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
1969 The Lady of Monza Virginia de Leyva Winner – Maschera D'Argento (Silver Mask) Award – Best Actress (Italy)
Midas Run Sylvia Giroux
The Chairman Kay Hanna
1972 The Killer Is on the Phone Eleanor Loraine
I Want What I Want Roy/Wendy
1973 The Nun and the Devil Mother Giulia
Trader Horn Nicole Mercer
1974 The First Time on the Grass Margherita Entered into the 25th Berlin International Film Festival
1979 Ring of Darkness Carlotta Rhodes Also known as Satan's Wife
Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff Evelyn Wyckoff
1984 What Waits Below Frieda Shelley

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Award Category Title of work Result
1968 Golden Globe Best Actress – Drama The Fox Nominated
1968 Laurel Award Female Dramatic Performance The Fox 5th place

Further reading[edit]

  • Weedman, Christopher (January 2017). "Anne Heywood: Britain's Daring Beauty". Cinema Retro: 56–59.


  1. ^ "Anne Heywood". Golden Globe Awards. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  2. ^ Joseph F. Clarke (1977). Pseudonyms. BCA. p. 83.
  3. ^ Hill, Mike (28 November 2020). "Golden age of the beauty pageant when hopefuls flocked to Lancashire". Lancashire Evening Post. Archived from the original on 27 June 2022. Retrieved 17 September 2021.
  4. ^ FANTASTIC LIVES: Anne's Pretty good start ... AND THEN: [FIRST Edition] Plimmer, John. Sunday Mercury; Birmingham (UK) [Birmingham (UK)], 14 September 2003: pg. 78.
  5. ^ The Life Story of ANNE HEYWOOD, Picture Show; London Vol. 70, Iss. 1828 (12 April 1958): pg. 12.
  6. ^ Veysey, Arthur. "THIS Beauty Queen Can Act!: Bored with Winning Cups, Our Cover Girl Broke the Habit and Became a Star A Hand from Her Majesty"
    Chicago Daily Tribune, 27 April 1958: pg. C-37.
  7. ^ Martin, Betty. MOVIE CALL SHEET: "'Fox' Next for Miss Heywood'", Los Angeles Times, 18 October 1966: pg. C13.
  8. ^ Sterritt, David. "The Fox". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 3 August 2009.
  9. ^ Anne Heywood Playing Oscar Game by the Rules, Warga, Wayne. Los Angeles Times 3 February 1969: h1.
  10. ^ Fred Leads Elegant Gypsies to 'Midas', Chicago Tribune, 17 May 1968: pg. B16
  11. ^ Clifford, Terry. "Anne Heywood--After The Fox' Many Films Ahead", Chicago Tribune, 11 May 1969: pg F14.
  12. ^ Thomas, Kevin. "'Chairman' Shot in Crossfire", Los Angeles Times, 6 February 1969: pg. H13.
  13. ^ Norma Lee Browning. , "HOLLYWOOD TODAY: A new approach to 'Myra'", Chicago Tribune, 14 March 1969: pg. B-27.
  14. ^ Lane, Lydia. "BEAUTY: Therapy in Travel for Anne", Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif], 21 October 1973: pg. K-11.
  15. ^ Lane, Lydia. "Anne Heywood: From Contestant to Star", Los Angeles Times (1923-1995); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif], 16 July 1978: pg. J6.
  16. ^ Obituary: "Raymond Stross, 72; Avant-Garde Motion Picture Producer": [Home Edition] Los Angeles Times, 2 August 1988, pg. 16.
  17. ^ Noble, Peter (18 August 1990). "In Confidence". Screen International.

External links[edit]