Ham­mer hor­ror’s vic­tim of Drac­ula dies aged 75

Maid­stone ac­tress starred with Boris Karloff and Christo­pher Lee

Kent Messenger Maidstone - - FRONT PAGE - By Alan Smith aj­smith@thek­m­group.co.uk @aj­smithKM

Maid­stone Mu­seum is run­ning an ex­hi­bi­tion called Scream and Scream Again, about the golden age of Bri­tish hor­ror films.

But one es­sen­tial com­po­nent of many Ham­mer hor­ror films is miss­ing – Maid­stone-born ac­tress Suzan Farmer, who died last month.

Never as fa­mous as Boris Karloff, Christo­pher Lee or Oliver Reed – all stars she ap­peared with – Miss Farmer nev­er­the­less played an es­sen­tial role as the busty blonde vic­tim of Drac­ula and count­less other vic­tims.

Miss Farmer, the daugh­ter of a met­als trader, spent the first five years of her life in Maid­stone, be­fore her fam­ily moved to Bray in Berk­shire – by chance the home of Ham­mer hor­ror.

Born in June, 1942, she left school at 14 and made her first film ap­pear­ance in The Supreme Se­cret a year later (1957). Her Ham­mer pic­tures in­cluded The Scar­let Blade, The Devil- Ship Pirates, Die! Die, Mon­ster and Drac­ula: Prince of Dark­ness. Other film cred­its in­cluded Rasputin: The Mad Monk, Doc­tor in Clover, 633 Squadron and Per­se­cu­tion.

She had nu­mer­ous TV ap­pear­ances, from an early episode of Danger­man, op­po­site Pa­trick McGoohan, to episodes of UFO, Man in a Suit­case, The Per­suaders and The Saint.

Miss Farmer had a month­long stint in Coro­na­tion Street where she played a di­vorced chi­ropodist who briefly dated the street’s sil­ver-tongued lothario Ken Bar­low. Her last TV ap­pear­ance was in 1980 in an episode of Break­away.

She was mar­ried to fel­low ac­tor Ian McShane from 1964 to 1968, after the pair ap­peared to­gether in a stu­dent play, The Wild and the Will­ing.

Her pri­vate life was blighted by de­pres­sion and al­co­holism and she lived as a recluse be­fore her death on Septem­ber 17, aged 75. Her brother Michael is the Tory Peer Lord Farmer. Miss Farmer wasn’t the only Ken­tish ac­tor to be thrust into the blood-cur­dling world of Ham­mer hor­rors.

Peter Cush­ing, who lived in Whit­stable for 30 years be­fore his death aged 81 in 1994, was well known for play­ing Baron Vic­tor Franken­stein and Pro­fes­sor Van Hels­ing. He was of­ten cast along­side Christo­pher Lee and the pair be­came great friends.

Maid­stone-born ac­tress Suzan Farmer was a reg­u­lar in Ham­mer hor­ror films

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