Sandra Peabody

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Sandra Peabody
Sandra Peabody as Mari Collingwood.png
Sandra Lee Peabody

(1948-01-11) January 11, 1948 (age 71)
Other namesLiyda Cassell
Sandra Cassell
Sandra Cassel
Debbie Craven
Alma materCarnegie Mellon University
Script supervisor
Acting coach
Years active1970–present
Spouse(s)Tim Stubelek

Sandra Peabody (born January 11, 1948)[1] is an American script supervisor, screenwriter, producer, acting coach and former actress and model.[2][3] While her acting career, on stage and film, only lasted from 1970 to 1974, she gained prominence for her role as the ill-fated Mari Collingwood in Wes Craven's debut film The Last House on the Left (1972). A cult hit, the film established her as a prominent actress in horror, and she subsequently starred in Voices of Desire (1972), Massage Parlor Murders! (1973), and Legacy of Satan (1974). Peabody's other notable role is Bird in the independent comedy film Teenage Hitchhikers (1975).

Peabody also appeared on stage, including a role as The Sun in Robert Kalfin's Off-Broadway musical revue Tarot (1970), which ran at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, followed by a supporting role as Minnie in Jay Harnick's Annie Get Your Gun (1973-1974).

Peabody quit acting in 1974 and transitioned into screenwriting and producing with a focus on children orientated programming. She now works as an acting coach in the Los Angeles and Portland areas.

Early life[edit]

Sandra Peabody was born on January 11, 1948 in Portland, Oregon.[4]


In the early 1970s, Peabody starred in a few exploitation films such as The Model Hunters before being cast in the low budget film The Horse Killer (1970), which is currently a lost film that was shot in Florida.[citation needed] In 1970, Peabody had a supporting role as The Sun in Robert Kalfin's Off-Broadway production Tarot[5] which ran at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.[6]

Peabody revealed that she had to film the lake scene for Last House numerous times.[7]

She was later cast alongside Spalding Grey and Philip Baker Hall in the 1971 film Love-In 72.[8][not in citation given] At 24 years old, Peabody rose to international prominence when she was cast in Wes Craven's brutal and controversial 1972 rape and revenge horror film The Last House on the Left,[9][10] about two teenage girls, Mari Collingwood (played by Peabody) and Phyllis Stone (played by Lucy Grantham) who are kidnapped and brutally raped by a gang of psychotic convicts who recently escaped from prison. The film was a critical and commercial success, earning more than $3 million at the American box office.[11] Her performance was generally met with positive reviews.[12][13] Editor Stefano Lo Verme compared Peabody's performance as Mari and the trajectory of her career to the performances of Marilyn Burns as Sally Hardesty in The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974) and Jamie Lee Curtis as Laurie Strode in Halloween (1978) and their subsequent line of work within the horror genre.[14]

The cameraman [Hurwitz] was one of the better people on the set. That guy was great. He told me, "Have something else in your life besides acting because it's a terrible business." He was a fatherly kind of guy to me. He died a few years after Last House on his bicycle. It was really horrible and tragic.

—Peabody discussing her positive experience working with Victor Hurwitz, the cinematographer of The Last House on the Left.[15]

Peabody was later cast in the horror films Voices of Desire (1972),[16] and Massage Parlor Murders! (1973), the latter being a grindhouse film that was released on DVD and Blu-ray in 2013.[17] Her next role was Olga in the satirical exploitation film The Filthiest Show in Town (1973). Peabody starred alongside Barbara Eden and John Bennett Perry in the musical Annie Get Your Gun that ran at the Shady Grove Music Fair, between 1973 and 1974.[18][19]

She later starred in Case of the Full Moon Murders (1973). In 1974, Peabody had a cameo role in the horror film Legacy of Satan.[20] The following year, Sandra starred in the comedy film Teenage Hitchhikers, which was about a couple of young hitchhikers who embark on a cross country trip in search of freedom, excitement and independence. In a review for Los Angeles Times, Linda Gross[21] stated that Peabody's performance was "ingenious."

In a 2016 editorial for the website Birth.Movies.Death., actress Barbara Crampton noted that Peabody was one of the first actresses to be labeled as a "scream queen" due to her frequent appearances in horror films, stating:

"The concept of shrieking damsels in distress has been around since the dawn of film, with The Perils of Pauline (1914) and Fay Wray clamoring at King Kong (1933), but it wasn’t until half a century later that the female protagonists of horror cinema were given the moniker of Scream Queen. The Last House on the Left star Sandra Peabody was one of the first actresses to have the title officially bestowed upon her after appearing in Wes Craven's 1972 classic."[22]

After appearing in Teenage Hitchhikers, Sandra quit acting. In 1975, Peabody worked as the script supervisor for the exploitation film Video Vixens, in which she is credited for the script continuity.[23] Subsequently, Sandra began to distance herself from the exploitative films that she was becoming known for and began to transition into children's programming. In 1983, she joined Mary Lee Fones and Karen Kalergis in an effort to bring child friendly content to cable systems beyond prominent film industry locations such as Los Angeles and New York.[24] The same year, Peabody created the half-hour children's program Get Moving.[25] In 1990, Sandra wrote and produced the television series Where in the World. The series lasted until 1995.[26] In 2000, David A. Szulkin interviewed Peabody for his book, Wes Craven's Last House on the Left, which tells the inside story of making the film.[27]

In 2001, Peabody wrote and produced the educational series Zone In.[28] She created more entries in 2007.[29] Peabody has appeared in several critically acclaimed horror film documentaries through archive footage such as Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film (2006) and Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy (2010).[30] As of 2018, Peabody is reported to be an acting coach in the Portland, Oregon area.[31]

Personal life[edit]

Peabody graduated from Neighborhood Playhouse School of the Theatre and studied with master acting teacher Sanford Meisner for two years. She obtained a bachelors degree in Arts and Letters at Carnegie Mellon University. Peabody quit acting in the mid 1970s. Most of the actors that portrayed the villains in The Last House on the Left (1972) stayed in character, and it caused her to feel genuinely frightened throughout most of the shoot.[32]

The experience was very exploitative for the actress and the actors of the film were insensitive to the discomfort that she felt on set. Marc Sheffler, who portrayed Junior Stillo, revealed in an interview that he held Peabody over a cliff and threatened to throw her off if she messed up during the next shot.[33]

In David A. Szulkin's non-fiction book Wes Craven's Last House on the Left, Peabody confirmed the uneasiness that she felt during filming and her bad experience working with the method actor David Hess who actually threatened to assault her during a rape scene to get a genuine reaction. In the retrospective interview with Szulkin, Peabody revealed that she felt more comfortable around Last House's cinematographer Victor Hurwitz, who she described as a "fatherly kind of guy" and stated that he is the person that encouraged her to not pursue acting as a career due to how bleak the industry was.[34] Peabody was Alicia Lagano's acting coach and in an interview stated:

"She was open and affected by everything, which is a great element for an actor to have, that kind of feeling and ability to relate to things and be so open at such a young age. She was willing to try everything, to throw herself on her face. Some people worry about their image and what they look like and what people will think of them. She was just so open and real."[35]

In a retrospective interview, David Hess discussed the on set relationship between him and Sandra, stating: "Sandra was an innocent and I held my character. She didn’t want to get anywhere near me."[36]



Year Title Role Notes
1970 Love-In 1972 Joan Boyd Credited as Susan Sparling[citation needed]
The Model Hunters Emmy Short, credited as Debbie Strange
1971 The Horse Killer Lead
1972 The Last House on the Left Mari Collingwood Credited as Sandra Cassell
Krug and Company Mari Collingwood Alternate version of The Last House on the Left, credited as Sandra Cassell
Voices of Desire Anna Reed Credited as Liyda Cassell
1973 The Filthiest Show in Town Olga Credited as Sandra Cassel
Massage Parlor Murders! Gwen
The Seven Deadly Sins Gwen Alternate version of Massage Parlor Murders!
Case of the Full Moon Murders Strip Poker Girl Credited as Debbie Craven
1974 Legacy of Satan Cult Extra Cameo
1975 Teenage Hitchhikers Bird
Video Vixens Script continuity
2000 The American Nightmare Herself / Mari Collingwood Documentary, archive footage
2002 It's Only a Movie: The Making of 'Last House on the Left' Herself / Mari Collingwood Documentary, archive footage
2003 Celluloid Crime of the Century Herself / Mari Collingwood Documentary, archive footage
2005 Ban the Sadist Videos! Herself / Mari Collingwood Documentary, archive footage
2006 Ban the Sadist Videos! Part 2 Herself / Mari Collingwood Documentary, archive footage
Going to Pieces: The Rise and Fall of the Slasher Film Herself / Mari Collingwood Documentary, archive footage
Campus Daze Special thanks Short
2008 I Would Rather Special thanks Short
Adam Special thanks Short
2009 Snap Special thanks Short
2011 Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy Herself / Mari Collingwood Documentary, archive footage


Year Title Role Notes
1970 Tarot The Sun Off-Broadway
1973-1974 Annie Get Your Gun Minnie Shady Grove Music Fair


Year Title Role Notes
1983 Get Moving Writer / Producer
1990-1995 Where in the World Writer / Producer
2000 Fear, Panic & Censorship Herself / Mari Collingwood Television documentary, archive footage
2000-2007 Zone In Writer / Producer
2011 Maria's B-Movie Mayhem Bird Episode: "Teenage Hitchhikers/Teenage Tramp", scenes from Teenage Hitchhikers (1975)


  1. ^ "United States Public Records, 1970-2009," database, FamilySearch (23 May 2014), Sandra L Peabody, Residence, Portland, Oregon, United States; a third party aggregator of publicly available information.
  2. ^ Baronne, Matt. "The 50 Most Hard to Watch Scenes in Movie History". Complex. Retrieved May 13, 2016.
  3. ^ "Sandra Peabody". Retrieved May 13, 2016.
  4. ^ "Sandra Peabody". MyLife. Retrieved July 22, 2016.
  5. ^ Willis, John (1971). John Willis' Theatre World, Volume 27. Crown Publishers. p. 124.
  6. ^ "Stage: A Musical by The Rubber Duck". The New York Times. December 13, 1970. Retrieved August 27, 2017.
  7. ^ Szulkin, David A. (2000). Wes Craven's Last House on the Left: The Making of a Cult Classic. FAB Press. ISBN 9781903254011.
  8. ^ Henenlotter, Frank. "Love-In 72". Something Weird Video. Retrieved April 12, 2016.
  9. ^ "A History of Horror". Retrieved 20 July 2010.
  10. ^ "DVD trailers, reviews and ratings". Retrieved 20 July 2010.
  11. ^ "The Last House on the Left, Box Office Information". The Numbers. Retrieved January 21, 2012.
  12. ^ Catalino, Mike. "Original Vs. Remake: The Last House on The Left". Arrow in the Head. Retrieved May 13, 2016.
  13. ^ Catalano, Catalano. "Original Vs. Remake: The Last House on The Left". Arrow in the Head. Retrieved May 13, 2016.
  15. ^ Szulkin, David A. (2000). Wes Craven's Last House on the Left: The Making of a Cult Classic. FAB Press. ISBN 9781903254011.
  16. ^ "Voices of Desire (1972)". The Bloody Pit of Horror. Retrieved 7 April 2016.
  17. ^ Cotenas, Eric. "Massage Parlor Murders Blu-ray/DVD Combo". DVD Drive-in. Retrieved 26 February 2016.
  18. ^ "Annie Get Your Gun (1973)". Google Books. Retrieved June 18, 2016.
  19. ^ Takiff, Jonathan (August 10, 1973). "Kid Flexibility Pays Off for Sandra Peabody". Philadelphia Daily News. p. 33 – via Free to read
  20. ^ Werner, Jason. "Legacy of Satan / Blood - Double Feature Coming to Blu-ray From Code Red DVD". Body Count Rising. Retrieved April 23, 2016.
  21. ^ Gross, Linda (December 5, 1975). "'Teens': Nothing Over the Rainbow". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 17, 2018.
  22. ^ Crampton, Barbara (December 15, 2016). "Barbara Crampton: Don't Call Me A Scream Queen". Birth.Movies.Death. Retrieved December 26, 2017.
  23. ^ "Video Vixens!". IMDb. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  24. ^ Cable Vision, Volume 9. Cahners Business Information. 1983.
  25. ^ Community Television Review, Volume 7. National Federation of Local Cable Programmers. 1984.
  26. ^ "Kids Explore". WorldCat. Retrieved June 18, 2016.
  27. ^ Szulkin, David. "Wes Craven's The Last House On The Left". Amazon. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  28. ^ "Zone in". WorldCat. Retrieved June 18, 2016.
  29. ^ "Zone In on Fear". WorldCat. Retrieved June 18, 2016.
  30. ^ "Never Sleep Again: The Elm Street Legacy Full Cast and Crew". IMDb. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  31. ^ "Lakewood: Class Instructors". Lakewood Center For The Arts. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  32. ^ "David Hess Interview". Slasherama. Retrieved April 11, 2016.
  33. ^ Frater, Jamie (May 13, 2014).'s Epic Book of Mind-Boggling Lists: Unbelievable Facts and Astounding Trivia on Movies, Music, Crime, Celebrities, History, and More. Ulysses Press. ISBN 9781612432977.
  34. ^ Szulkin, David A. (2000). Wes Craven's Last House on the Left: The Making of a Cult Classic. FAB Press. ISBN 9781903254011.
  35. ^ Owen, Rob (April 7, 2012). "Ex-Portlander Alicia Lagano shows her grit in 'Client List'". OregonLive. Retrieved April 4, 2017.
  36. ^ "Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know: An Interview with Actor/Director David Hess". the terror trap. Retrieved December 26, 2017.

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