Kathleen Norris Stark
April 26, 1956
New York City, U.S.
|Occupation||Photographer, model, actress|
(m. 1984; div. 1990)
Kathleen Norris Stark (born April 26, 1956), better known as Koo Stark, is an American photographer and actress, known for her relationship with Prince Andrew. She is a patron of the Julia Margaret Cameron Trust, museum of the Victorian pioneer photographer.
Stark was born in New York. Her parents were Wilbur Stark (1912–1995), a writer and producer, and Kathi Norris (1919–2005), a writer and television presenter in New York City. She is the youngest of three children, the others being Pamela (born 1946) and Brad (born 1952). At the time of her birth, the family was living in Manhattan. Her grandfather, Edwin Earl Norris (1876–1957) was a cabinetmaker and musician, playing the French horn and the viola in the Newark Symphony Orchestra. Her mother's family were Presbyterians. After a divorce in the 1960s, her mother remarried.
Her first film role was in the comedy All I Want Is You... and You... and You... (1974), produced by her father. In 1975 she appeared in Las adolescentes (The Adolescents), opposite Anthony Andrews, and starred in an episode of Shades of Greene. Also that year she had an uncredited role as a bridesmaid in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Her best remembered performance is the lead role in the avant-garde film Emily (1976), directed by Henry Herbert, 17th Earl of Pembroke. Uncertain whether to accept the part, Stark did so on the advice of Graham Greene, with whom she had worked the year before. Of working with her in Emily, actor Victor Spinetti later wrote "I found Koo Stark to be an enchanting girl and terribly bright and interesting".
She also appeared in Cruel Passion (1977), a film based on the novel Justine. Around the same time, she played the part of Camie Marstrap in Star Wars (1977); the scenes in which she appeared were cut from the film before its original release, but can be seen in Star Wars: Behind the Magic (1998).
Stark also began to work as a fashion model, particularly for Norman Parkinson. In February 1981, she was at the National Theatre as an understudy in the Edward Albee play Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
She appeared in the comedy Eat the Rich (1987), and then featured in "Timeslides", an episode of the sci-fi show Red Dwarf (1989), playing Lady Sabrina Mulholland-Jjones, the fiancée of a more successful Dave Lister in a parallel universe.
In September 1987, she returned to the stage, taking the part of Vera Claybourne in Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None at the Duke of York's Theatre. The London Theatre Record posed the question "Why has a girl so obviously three-dimensional chosen a part so obviously two-dimensional?" She played Miss Scarlett in the 1991 series of Cluedo, succeeding Toyah Willcox and befriending Rula Lenska.
Stark has worked as a photographer since the 1980s, and may have been the first person to turn the tables on the pursuing paparazzi by taking photos of them. Prince Andrew has told how in 1983 a photographic printer, Gene Nocon, invited Stark to take photographs of people taking photos of her, for his exhibition, Personal Points of View, planned for October. She persuaded Nocon to include Andrew's work as well. Her early photographs led to a book deal, for which she took lessons from Norman Parkinson. She travelled to Tobago, where he lived, and he became her mentor. Her book Contrasts (1985) included about a hundred of her photographs. She went on to study the work of leading photographers, including Angus McBean, whom she met and photographed. developing her interests in photography to include reportage, portraits, landscapes, still life, and other work.
The book, Contrasts was launched at Hamiltons Gallery, London, in September 1985, at an exhibition of the same name. In 1994, the Gallery Bar at the Grosvenor House Hotel in Park Lane hosted an exhibition called 'The Stark Image', forty photographs by Stark, including several previously unpublished. In 1998, her work was featured at the Como Lario in Holbein Place, Belgravia. In July 2001 she had an exhibition called 'Stark Images" at the Fruitmarket Gallery in Edinburgh, duplicated from June to July 2001 at Dimbola Lodge on the Isle of Wight. A solo exhibition of portraits was at the Winter Gardens, Ventnor, from September to October 2010, and another at Dimbola Lodge from February to April, 2011.
On 22 April 1987, a charity auction at Christie's, St James's, for the Campaign to Protect Rural England, featured signed work by David Bailey, Patrick Lichfield, Don McCullin, Terence Donovan, Fay Godwin, Heather Angel, Clive Arrowsmith, Linda McCartney, Koo Stark, and fifteen others, Views by Stark, including some of Kirby Muxloe Castle, were in G. H. Davies's England's Glory (1987), a CPRE book launched at the same time.
Pictures by Stark have appeared in Country Life and other magazines. Several of her portraits are in the National Portrait Gallery, and work is also in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, both in London.
A Leica user, Stark has said her camera transcends mere function and is a personal friend. A solo exhibition hosted by the Leica gallery in Mayfair in May 2017 was entitled Kintsugi, a Japanese word for a way of renovating things that have been broken. Stark explained the title: "Kintsugi is a way of learning to see individual beauty, and to appreciate the value of experience and honesty. It is the antithesis of digital, airbrushed, Photoshop-homogenised ‘beauty’." In August the exhibition was repeated in Manchester, to mark the opening of a new Leica store there.
Stark met Prince Andrew in February 1981, and they were close for some two years, before and after his active service in the Falklands War. Tina Brown has claimed that this was Andrew's only serious love affair. In October 1982 they took a holiday together on the island of Mustique. According to Lady Colin Campbell, Andrew was in love, and the Queen was "much taken with the elegant, intelligent, and discreet Koo". However, in 1983, after 18 months of dating, they split up under pressure from the queen. In 1988, she brought a successful libel action against The Mail on Sunday over an untrue story headed 'Koo dated Andy after she wed'. In 1989, The Spectator reported that she had received £300,000 from one newspaper "for years of inaccurate persecution" and was also collecting money from others. In 1997, Prince Andrew became the godfather of Stark's daughter, and in 2015, when the Prince was accused by Virginia Roberts over the Jeffrey Epstein connection, Stark came to his defence, stating that he was a good man and she could help to rebut the claims.
Stark married Tim Jefferies, manager of a photographic gallery, in August 1984, at St Saviour's, Hampstead, with the minister, Christopher Neil-Smith, commenting that "It was such a quiet affair you wouldn't have known it was happening." They stayed together for a year, later divorcing.
About 1993, Stark was hit by a taxi in Old Compton Street, losing two teeth and also suffering a deep wound to her forehead, dented by collision with her camera. This accident left her temporarily disfigured, but the wound eventually closed leaving a small scar just under the hair-line. She has been a practising Buddhist since meeting the Dalai Lama.
She was later engaged to Warren Walker, an American banker, but he cancelled their wedding before the birth of their daughter, Tatiana, in May 1997.
In another libel action in 2007, Stark won an apology and substantial damages from Zoo Weekly magazine, which had described her as a porn star. She commented "I am relieved that my name has been cleared of this false, highly damaging and serious allegation which has been proved to be completely untrue." In 2011, The Daily Telegraph called her an early Kate Middleton prototype and suggested that if she had not appeared in the film Emily early in her career she might have gone on to become the Duchess of York.
Stark continues to live in London and is a member of the Chelsea Arts Club. She is a Patron of the Julia Margaret Cameron Trust, at Dimbola Lodge on the Isle of Wight, home of the Victorian pioneer photographer Julia Margaret Cameron.
Films and television
- All I Want Is You... and You... and You... (1974): Jennifer Ready
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975): Bridesmaid (uncredited)
- Las adolescentes (1975): Ana
- Shades of Greene, episode "The Blue Film" (1975): Girl
- The Awakening of Emily (1976): Emily Foster
- The Sunday Drama, episode "The Cuckoo Calls" (LWT, 1977): Deborah
- Cruel Passion (1977): Justine Jerome
- Star Wars (1977): Camie Marstrap (Tosche Station, scenes cut)
- Electric Dreams (1984) : Girl in Soap Opera
- The Two Ronnies, episode 12.2 (1986): Alice
- Eat the Rich (1987): Hazel
- Red Dwarf, episode "Timeslides" (1989): Lady Sabrina Mulholland-Jjones
- Cluedo (1991 series): Miss Scarlett
- Star Wars: Behind the Magic (1998): Camie Marstrap (scenes cut from Star Wars)
- 'Contrasts', Hamiltons Gallery, Carlos Place, London, September 1985
- 'The Stark Image', Gallery Bar at Grosvenor House Hotel, London, 1994
- 'Stark Images', Dimbola Lodge, Isle of Wight, June to July 2001
- 'Stark Images', Fruitmarket Gallery, Market Street, Edinburgh, July 2001
- 'Portraits by Koo Stark', Winter Gardens, Ventnor, Isle of Wight, September to October 2010
- 'Koo Stark: Contrasts', Dimbola Lodge, Isle of Wight, February to April, 2011
- 'Kintsugi', Leica gallery, Bruton Place, Mayfair, May 2017
- 'Kintsugi', Leica store, Police Street, Manchester, August 2017
- 'Kintsugi Portraits', San Lorenzo, Beauchamp Place, London SW3, November 2017
- TV Personalities: Biographical Sketch Book Volume 3 (1957), p. 148
- Andrew Devore Boyd, Joseph Boyd, Sr. (died 1799) of Prince George's County, Maryland, and his family through six generations' (2010), p. 34: '221. Lena A. Loyd'
- 'Edwin Earl Norris, 80, widely known cabinetmaker and musician', obituary in Newark Advocate dated February 27, 1957
- Andrew Morton, Mick Seamark, Andrew, the Playboy Prince (1983), p. 137
- Bryony Gordon (February 11, 2011). "Koo Stark: From Royal Romance to the High Court". Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on March 10, 2011. Retrieved April 15, 2011.
- Wilbur Stark, TV Producer, 81 Archived 2017-11-13 at the Wayback Machine, dated August 14, 1995, at nytimes.com, accessed 12 November 2017
- "Adolescentes, Las", in Luis Gasca, Un siglo de cine español (Planeta, 1998), p. 17
- Quentin Falk, Travels in Greeneland: The Complete Guide to the Cinema of Graham Greene (2000), p. 149
- Christopher Neame, A Take on British TV Drama: Stories from the Golden Years (Scarecrow Press, 2004), p. xiv-xv
- Beatlefan, volume 7 (Goody Press, 1985), p. 12
- Deming, Mark. "Justine (1977)". AllMovie. Archived from the original on January 31, 2017. Retrieved January 23, 2017.
- Marcus Hearn, The Cinema of George Lucas (2005), p. 106
- Newsweek, Volume 132 (1998), p. 122
- Hugh Montgomery Massingberd, The Daily Telegraph Third Book of Obituaries: Entertainers (1998), p. 122
- "Prince Andrew's ex Koo Stark speaks about their relationship for first time in 30 years". independent.co.uk. February 15, 2015. Archived from the original on January 21, 2017. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
- Paul Green, Encyclopedia of Weird War Stories: Supernatural and Science Fiction Elements (2017), p. 148
- And Then There Were None Archived 2017-11-09 at the Wayback Machine at theatricalia.com, accessed 7 November 2017
- London Theatre Record, Volume 8, Issues 1-13, p. 184.
- Karen Louise Hollis, The Other Side of the Table (2011), p. 61
- Liam Clifford, Koo Stark returns to London for first exhibition in 23 years Archived 2017-09-03 at the Wayback Machine dated April 12, 2017 at amateurphotographer.co.uk, accessed 12 November 2017
- Prince Andrew, Photographs (Hamilton, 1985), p. 8: "The next step in my development as a photographer, apart from my trial and error experimenting, came when Koo Stark, now Jefferies, came back to the U.K. with some pictures of herself for printing, taken by Norman Parkinson. She went to see photographic printer Gene Nocon. At this time Gene was organising an exhibition planned for October 1983. The theme was photographs taken by people who were the subjects of photographers. He invited her to take part. It was called "Personal Points of View". Koo came to see me and suggested that I should take part as well. I replied that I was sure that I wouldn't be allowed to. Koo then went back to see Gene without my knowledge and asked him if a friend of hers could also take part. Although Koo was reluctant to name names and Gene was equally reluctant to agree to an unknown person taking part, it seems they came to an understanding..."
- Phil Coomes, In pictures: Koo Stark on both sides of the lens Archived 2017-07-17 at the Wayback Machine dated 8 May 2017 at BBC.co.uk
- British Journal of Photography, Volume 132 (Henry Greenwood & Co., 1985), p. 1022
- British Journal of Photography, Volume 141 (Henry Greenwood & Co., 1994), p. 58
- Jim Ainsworth, The Good Food Guide 1998 (Which? Books, 1998), p. 87
- British Journal of Photography, Volume 148 (Henry Greenwood & Co., 2001), issue 7346
- Harriet Lane, The Stark ages Archived 2017-11-13 at the Wayback Machine, in The Observer dated 17 June 2001, accessed 12 November 2017
- David Bartlett, Koo Stark Exhibition At Winter Gardens Archived 2017-11-17 at the Wayback Machine dated 8th September, 2010, at onthewight.com, accessed 12 November 2017
- Events February 2011 Archived 2017-12-01 at the Wayback Machine at iwcp.co.uk, Isle of Wight County Press, accessed 19 November 2017: "Koo Stark Contrasts Art Exhibition at Dimbola Lodge Museum, Freshwater, closed Mondays."
- British Journal of Photography, Volume 134 (Henry Greenwood & Co., 1987), p. 234
- BBC Wildlife, Volumes 4-5 (1986), p. 201
- Arts Review, Volume 39, Issues 1-13 (Richard Gainsborough Periodicals, 1987), p. 136
- Review of G. H. Davies's England's Glory: a Photographic Journey through England's Threatened Landscape in Antiquity, Volume 61 (Antiquity Publications, 1987), p. 476
- British Design Strikes a Winning Pose by Jennifer Guerrini-Maraldi, photographs by Koo Stark in Country Life volume 191 (1997)
- Koo Stark (1956-) Archived 2017-11-13 at the Wayback Machine at npg.org.uk, accessed 12 November 2017
- Nigel Barlow, Koo Stark exhibition comes to Manchester Archived 2017-11-13 at the Wayback Machine dated August 11, 2017, at aboutmanchester.co.uk, accessed 12 November 2017
- Alastair Burnet, The ITN book of the royal wedding (Michael O'Mara Books, 1986), p. 38: "The actress Miss Koo Stark was a regular girlfriend of Prince Andrew for several years."
- Tina Brown, The Diana Chronicles (2011), p. 228
- Kim McNamara, Paparazzi: Media Practices and Celebrity Culture (2015), p. 29
- Lady Colin Campbell, The Real Diana, p. 161
- 'Koo Stark v Mail on Sunday (1988) unreported', in Vivienne Harpwood, ed., Modern Tort Law, 6th edition (2005), p. 340
- The Spectator, Volume 262 (1989), p. 19
- Newsweek, Volume 128 (1997), p. 76
- Milestones, in Time dated Aug. 27, 1984
- 'Stark weds Green Shield heir', AP report in The Daily Register dated August 17, 1984, page A2, col. 1
- Time, Volume 149 (Time Incorporated, 1997), p. 19
- "Koo's praise for her daughter's father" in The Independent (London), dated August 18, 1998, accessed October 7, 2007
- Koo's battle against cancer Archived 2017-11-20 at the Wayback Machine in Evening Standard dated 23 March 2004, accessed 17 November 2017
- Koo Stark news release Archived 2017-11-13 at the Wayback Machine at carter-ruck.com, accessed 25 May 2018
- "Chelsea Arts Club secretary signs off with 'lunatic' plea". London Evening Standard. January 17, 2013. Archived from the original on 15 February 2017. Retrieved 15 February 2017.
- "Metropolitan Life: Why Are They Famous?". The Independent. 8 August 1996. Retrieved 21 February 2020.
- 'Kintsugi Portraits' by Koo Stark exhibition launch at San Lorenzo, London, 23 November 2017, accessed 29 November 2017
- Koo Stark Pictures and Images at gettyimages.co.uk
- Koo Stark on IMDb
- Koo Stark exhibition at Dimbola Lodge, Isle of Wight, Feb 2011, by Birgit Cunningham