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Hazel Court in The Premature Burial (1962)
|Born||10 February 1926|
Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire, England
|Died||15 April 2008 (aged 82)|
Lake Tahoe, California, U.S.
(m. 1963; died 1998)
(m. 1949; div. 1963)
Hazel Court (10 February 1926 – 15 April 2008) was an English actress best known for her roles in horror films during the 1950s and early 1960s.
Court was born in Sutton Coldfield, Warwickshire, lived in the Boldmere area and attended Boldmere School and Highclare College. Her father was G.W. Court, a cricketer who played for Durham CCC. At the age of fourteen, she studied drama at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre and the Alexandra Theatre, also in Birmingham, England.
At the age of sixteen, Court met film director Anthony Asquith in London; the meeting won her a brief part in Champagne Charlie (1944). Court won a British Critics Award for her role as a crippled girl in Carnival (1946) and also appeared in Holiday Camp (1947) and Bond Street (1948). Her first role in a fantasy film was in Ghost Ship (1952). Devil Girl from Mars (1954) was a low-budget film produced by the Danziger Brothers.
Court trained at the Rank Organisation's "charm school". She wanted to act in comedy films but also continued to appear in horror films and, in 1957, had what was to become a career-defining role in the first colour Hammer Horror film The Curse of Frankenstein (1957).
In the 1957–58 television season, she co-starred in a CBS sitcom filmed in England, Dick and the Duchess, in the role of Jane Starrett, a patrician Englishwoman married to an American insurance claims investigator living in London, a role played by Patrick O'Neal. Court travelled back and forth between Hollywood and England, appearing in four episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. She had parts in A Woman of Mystery (1958), The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959) and Doctor Blood's Coffin (1961) among others.
By the early 1960s, Court had moved to the United States permanently. She was featured in the Edgar Allan Poe horror films The Premature Burial (1962), The Raven (1963) and The Masque of the Red Death (1964), the last two with Vincent Price. She appeared on occasion in the popular early 1960s TV series (each episode a stand-alone drama), the Dick Powell Theatre and in the British production, The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre.
In 1981 Court appeared briefly in the third Omen film, The Final Conflict, although she was uncredited. She also appeared in episodes of several TV series, including Adventures in Paradise, Mission: Impossible, Bonanza, Dr. Kildare, Danger Man, Twelve O'Clock High, Burke's Law, Sam Benedict, Gidget, McMillan and Wife, Mannix, The Wild Wild West, Thriller, Rawhide "Incident of the Dowry Dundee" and in "The Fear", the penultimate episode of the original 1960's The Twilight Zone.
From 1964 until his death in 1998, she was married to American actor Don Taylor, who was divorced in 1955 from actress Phyllis Avery. Court retired from the film acting business in 1964 to concentrate on being a wife and mother. Court and Taylor met while they were shooting an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. They had a son, Jonathan, and a daughter, Courtney.
In addition to acting, she was also a painter and sculptress, and studied sculpting in Italy.
Death and legacy
Court died of a heart attack at her home near Lake Tahoe, California, on 15 April 2008, aged 82. Her autobiography, Hazel Court: Horror Queen, was released in the UK a week after her death by Tomahawk Press.
- 1944: Champagne Charlie - Tipsy Champagne Drinker (uncredited)
- 1944: Dreaming - Miss Grey / Wren / Avalah
- 1946: Gaiety George (a.k.a. Showtime) - Elizabeth Brown
- 1946: Carnival - May Raeburn
- 1947: Hungry Hill - Minor Role (uncredited)
- 1947: The Root of All Evil - Rushie
- 1947: Meet Me at Dawn - Gabrielle Vermorel
- 1947: Dear Murderer - Avis Fenton
- 1947: Holiday Camp - Joan Huggett
- 1948: My Sister and I - Helena Forsythe
- 1948: Bond Street - Julia Chester-Barrett
- 1949: Forbidden - Jeannie Thompson
- 1952: Ghost Ship - Margaret Thornton
- 1953: Counterspy (a.k.a. Undercover Agent) - Clare Manning
- 1954: Devil Girl from Mars - Ellen
- 1954: The Scarlet Web - Susan Honeywell
- 1954: A Tale of Three Women - Trude (segment "Wedding Gift' story)
- 1956: The Narrowing Circle - Rosemary Speed
- 1956: Behind the Headlines - Maxine
- 1957: Hour of Decision - Peggy Sanders
- 1957: The Curse of Frankenstein - Elizabeth
- 1958: A Woman of Mystery - Joy Grant
- 1958-1961: Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV Series) - Charlotte Jameson Rutherford / Helen Brathwaite / Lady Gwendolyn Avon / Phyllis Chaundry
- 1958: The Invisible Man (TV Series) - Penny Page
- 1959: Model for Murder - Sally Meadows
- 1959: Breakout - Rita Arkwright
- 1959: The Man Who Could Cheat Death - Janine Du Bois
- 1960: The Shakedown - Mildred Eyde
- 1960: Bonanza (Tv Series, Episode: "The Last Trophy") - Lady Beatrice Dunsford
- 1960: The Edgar Wallace Mystery Theatre (TV Series, Episode: "The Man Who Was Nobody") - Marjorie Stedman
- 1960-1961: Danger Man (TV Series) - Francesca / Noelle Laurence
- 1961: Dr. Blood's Coffin - Nurse Linda Parker
- 1961: Thriller (TV Series) - Leonie Vicek
- 1961: Mary Had a Little... - Laurel Clive
- 1962: The Premature Burial - Emily Gault
- 1963: The Raven - Lenore Craven
- 1964: Rawhide (TV Series, Episode: "Incident of the Dowery Dundee") - Kathleen Dundee
- 1964: The Twilight Zone (TV Series, Episode: "The Fear") - Charlotte Scott
- 1964: The Masque of the Red Death - Juliana
- 1966: Mission: Impossible (TV Series, season 2 ep. 10: "Charity") - Catherine Hagar
- 1972: McMillan & Wife (TV Series, Episode: "The Face of Murder") - Frances Mayerling
- 1981: Omen III: The Final Conflict - Champagne Woman At Hunt (uncredited) (final film role)
- Brady, Emma (18 April 2008). "Hollywood or Bust for City's Scream Queen". Birmingham Post. Retrieved 30 January 2010.
- Johnson, Erskine (12 March 1959). "British TV Queen Demoted—Had To Settle For Duchess". The Bristol Daily Courier. Pennsylvania, Bristol. NEA. p. 24.
- Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7. P. 258.
- "Entertainment | Horror actress Court dies aged 82". BBC News. 17 April 2008. Retrieved 24 July 2015.
- Bergan, Ronald (21 April 2008). "Hazel Court". The Guardian. Retrieved 7 October 2019.
- Court, Hazel (2008). Hazel Court – Horror Queen: An Autobiography. In October 1966, Court appeared in an episode of Wild Wild West called "The Night of the Returning Dead". Tomahawk Press. ISBN 0-9531926-8-7.
- Van Helsing's Journal, June 2010 no.11 "Hazel Court, Horror's Class Act" interview by Lawrence Fultz Jr.