Barbara Steele

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Barbara Steele
Barbara Steele publicity photo 1965.png
Steele in a 1965 publicity photo
Born (1937-12-29) 29 December 1937 (age 79)
Birkenhead, Cheshire, England
Occupation
  • Actress
  • producer
Years active 1958–present
Spouse(s) James Poe (m. 1969; div. 1978)
Children 1

Barbara Steele (born 29 December 1937) is an English film actress and producer. She is best known for starring in Italian gothic horror films of the 1960s. Her breakthrough role came in Italian director Mario Bava's Black Sunday (1960).[1]

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 Ryan Gosling's Lost River (2014).

Early life[edit]

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

Career[edit]

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

She guest starred on various British television shows including the spy drama, Danger Man 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 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".

Steele returned to the horror genre in the later 1970s, appearing in three horror films, Silent Scream, Piranha, and David Cronenberg's Shivers.[3]

Steele served as associate producer of the 1983 TV mini-series, 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 David Cronenberg's Shivers (1975) 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[edit]

Steele married American screenwriter James Poe in 1969; the couple were divorced in 1978.[8]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1958 Bachelor of Hearts Fiona
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
1960 Black Sunday Katia Vajda/Princess Asa Vajda
1961 The Pit and the Pendulum Elizabeth
1962 The Horrible Dr. Hichcock Cynthia Hichcock
1963 Gloria Morin
1963 The Hours of Love Leila
1963 The Ghost Margaret Hichcoc
1964 The Long Hair of Death Helen Karnstein / Mary Karnstein
1964 I maniaci Barbara/signora Brugnoli
1964 A Sentimental Attempt Silvia
1964 Castle of Blood Elisabeth Blackwood
1964 White Voices Giulia
1965 I soldi Cameo
1965 Terror-Creatures from the Grave Cleo Hauff
1965 Nightmare Castle Muriel Arrowsmith / Jenny Arrowsmith
1966 L'armata Brancaleone Teodora
1966 The She Beast Veronica
1966 Young Törless Bozena
1966 An Angel for Satan Harriet Montebruno / Belinda
1968 Curse of the Crimson Altar Lavinia Morley
1974 Caged Heat Supt. McQueen
1975 Shivers Betts
1977 I Never Promised You a Rose Garden Idat Scenes deleted
1978 Pretty Baby Josephine
1978 Piranha Dr. Mengers
1979 Silent Scream Victoria Engels
2012 The Butterfly Room Ann
2014 Lost River Belladonna
2016 Le Fantôme The Widow Short film
2016 Minutes Past Midnight The Apparition of the Mill

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1955 Dial 999 Toni Miller 1 episode
1961 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Phyllis 1 episode
1964 Les baisers Thelma 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[edit]

  1. ^ Hogan 1997, p. 168.
  2. ^ a b 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. ^ Hogan 1997, p. 177.

Works cited

External links[edit]