Hammer horror’s victim of Dracula dies aged 75
Maidstone actress starred with Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee
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