Caroline Munro at the 3rd Norwich Sci-Fi Film, Comic, Toy & Collectors Fair on 1 November 2009
16 January 1949 |
Windsor, Berkshire, England
|Occupation||Actress, model, singer|
|Spouse(s)||Judd Hamilton (1970–1982) (divorced)
George Dugdale (1990–present) (2 children))
|Children||Georgina and Iona Dugdale|
Munro's career commenced in 1966 when her mother and a photographer friend entered some headshots of her to The Evening News's "Face of the Year" contest. As she said:
"I wanted to do art. Art was my love. I went to art school in Brighton but I was not very good at it. I just did not know what to do. I had a friend at the college who was studying photography and he needed somebody to photograph and he asked me. Unbeknownst to me, he sent the photographs to a big newspaper in London. The fashion photographer, David Bailey, was conducting a photo contest and my picture won."
This led to modelling work for Vogue magazine at the age of 17. She moved to London to pursue top modelling jobs and became a major cover girl for fashion and TV advertisements while there. Bit parts in movies came her way in such films as Casino Royale (1967) and Where's Jack? (1969). One of her photo ads got her a screen test and a one-year contract at Paramount where she won the role of Richard Widmark's daughter in the comedy western A Talent for Loving (1969).
"The most challenging scenes involved lying in the coffin with Vincent," she reveals. "You see, I’m allergic to feathers and I was attired in this beautiful negligee – but it was covered with feathers! It took a great deal of willpower not to sneeze or sniffle. On occasion, I would simply have to sneeze and this would result in having to do another take."
Hammer Horror films
Hammer Films CEO, Sir James Carreras, spotted Munro on a Lamb's Navy Rum poster/billboard. He asked his right-hand man, James Liggett, to find and screen test her. She was immediately signed to a one-year contract. Her first film for Hammer proved to be something of a turning point in her career. It was during the making of Dracula AD 1972 that she decided from this film onward she was a full-fledged actress.
Munro acted in Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter in 1974. Directed by Brian Clemens, she plays the barefoot gypsy girl Carla. In Paramount Pictures DVD commentary, Clemens explains that he envisioned the role as a fiery, Raquel Welch type, red-head.
Munro has the distinction of being the only actor ever signed to a long-term contract by Hammer Films. She would later turn down the lead female roles in Hammer's Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde, Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell, and the unmade Vampirella because they required nudity.
The Golden Voyage of Sinbad
"I got the part – I had been signed by Hammer, for one year, for a contract, out of which I did two films, one being Dracula AD 1972, and the second one being Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter, which, kind of, would come full-circle, to Sinbad. It was written and directed by Brian Clemens, who wrote the screenplay for The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, so, I was lucky enough to be chosen for Captain Kronos, and they were searching for somebody to do Sinbad, and they wanted a big name, somebody American, or well-known, but Brian said "No". He kept lobbying Charles Schneer [producer] and Ray Harryhausen — saying: 'I think you should come and look at the rushes, and see what you think, because I think she's right'. So, they said "No", but, eventually, Brian persuaded them to do that, and they saw the rushes, and that was how I got the part. So, it was lovely, like work-out-of-work. I was very lucky to have done that."
Other appearances during this time included I Don't Want to Be Born (1975) with Joan Collins, and At the Earth's Core (1976) with Peter Cushing and Doug McClure. She appeared also as Tammy, a nursing employee of a sinister health farm, in "The Angels of Death" (1977), an episode of the TV series The New Avengers that featured also rising stars Pamela Stephenson and Lindsay Duncan. This was notable, among other things, for a vicious fight between Munro and Joanna Lumley's Purdey.
Late 1970s and 1980s
Munro continued to work in numerous British and European horror and science fiction films through the 1970s and 1980s, most notably Starcrash (1979) with David Hasselhoff, Christopher Plummer and Marjoe Gortner.
Munro's career continued to thrive well in the 1980s, appearing in many slasher and Eurotrash productions. Her first film shot on American soil was the William Lustig production Maniac (1980). This was soon followed by the "multi-award winning, shot during the Cannes Film Festival" shocker The Last Horror Film (1982) (directed by David Winters), in which she was reunited with her Maniac co-star Joe Spinell. She had a cameo role in the film Don't Open Till Christmas (1984), Slaughter High (1986), Paul Naschy's Howl of the Devil (1987), and Jess Franco's Faceless (1988), followed in rapid succession. She reteamed with Starcrash director, Luigi Cozzi, for Demons 6: De Profundis (aka Il gatto nero) in 1989, though this would be her last major film appearance.
Throughout the 1980s, Munro was often cited by the press as being a candidate for the co-starring role in a proposed (but never produced) feature film based upon Doctor Who. The feature was being co-produced by her second husband George Dugdale.
Music and television
In 1984, Munro signed a recording contract with Gary Numan's label Numa Records, and released a dance single called "Pump Me Up". Written and produced by Numan, the single hardly sold.
Munro also provided vocals and lyrics for the song "Warrior of Love" which she sang in the film Don't Open Till Christmas.
Between 1984 and 1987, Munro was also a hostess on the Yorkshire Television game show 3-2-1. Munro was also a popular pin-up girl during this time, though she refused to pose nude. In the early 1980s, she appeared in music videos for Adam Ant's Goody Two Shoes and Meat Loaf's If You Really Want To.
Her film roles were confined to performing cameos as herself in Night Owl (1993), as Mrs. Pignon in To Die For (1994), as the counsellor in her friend Jeffrey Arsenault's film Domestic Strangers (1996), and as Carla the Gypsy in Flesh for the Beast (2003).
- Casino Royale (1967) as Guard Girl (uncredited)
- Joanna (1968) as Extra (uncredited)
- Where's Jack? (1969) as Madame Vendonne
- A Talent for Loving (1969) as Evalina
- Fumo di Londra (1971) as Beautiful Brunette
- The Abominable Dr. Phibes (1971) as Victoria Regina Phibes (uncredited)
- Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) as Laura
- Dr. Phibes Rises Again (1972) as Victoria Regina Phibes (uncredited)
- The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973) as Margiana
- Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter (1974) as Carla
- I Don't Want to Be Born (1975) as Mandy Gregory
- At the Earth's Core (1976) as Dia
- The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) as Naomi
- Starcrash (1979) as Stella Star
- Maniac (1980) as Anna D'Antoni
- The Last Horror Film (1982) as Jana Bates
- Don't Open Till Christmas (1984) as Herself
- Slaughter High (1986) as Carol
- Faceless (1987) as Barbara Hallen
- Howl of the Devil (1987) as Carmen
- Demons 6: De Profundis (1989) as Nora
- Night Owl (1993) as Herself
- To Die For (1994) as Mrs. Pignon
- Flesh for the Beast (2003) as Carla, the Gypsy
- Domestic Strangers (2005) as Counselor
- The Absence of Light (2006) as Abbey Church
- Vampyres (2015) 
- Cute Little Buggers (2015) as Mystic Mary
- Crying Wolf (2015) as Shopkeeper
- GirlForce (2016)
- Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Birth Index: 1916–2005 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. London, England: General Register Office.
- "Caroline Munro". The New York Times.
- "Chasing After Caroline Munro". Dr. Shatterhand's Botanical Garden.
- "Caroline Munro Filmography". The New York Times.
- [dead link]Caroline Munro Interview. Margiana.freeservers.com (23 November 2002). Retrieved on 9 August 2013.
- "The Ray and Diana Harryhausen Foundation".
- "Caroline Munro Official Fansite". Carolinemunro.org. Retrieved 31 December 2011.
- Vincent Canby (1981-01-31). "Maniac". New York Times. Retrieved 2011-05-04.
- Official Caroline Munro Website
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