Hazel Court

posted 2008-04-17 18:46:19 by mike

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Hazel Court, an English beauty who co-starred with the likes of Boris Karloff and Vincent Price in "The Raven" and otehr popular horror movies of the 1950s and '60s, has died. She was 82.

Court died Tuesday at her home near Lake Tahoe from a heart attack, her daughter, Sally Walsh of Los Angeles, said Wednesday.

While she had a substantial acting career both in England and on American TV, Court was perhaps best known for her work in such films as 1963's "The Raven." She co-starred with Price, Karloff, and Peter Lorre in a Roger Corman take on the classic Edgar Allen Poe poem.

Corman directed her in five movies. Like other "scream queens" of the era, Court's roles often relied on her cleavage and her ability to shriek in fear and die horrible deaths.

"The Premature Burial," "The Masque of the Red Death," "The Curse of Frankenstein" and "Devil Girl from Mars" helped propel her to cult status and brought her fan mail even in her later years.

"She'd probably get over 100 pieces of fan mail a month and she would reply to every single one," her daughter said.

Court had finished an autobiography, "Hazel Court - Horror Queen," which will be published in Britain, Walsh said.

The daughter of a professional cricket player, Court was born Feb. 10, 1926, in the English town of Sutton Coldfield. As a teenager, she was appearing in stage productions when she was spotted and signed by the J. Arthur Rank Organisation, which owned movie studios and theaters.

She got her first movie bit part by the time she was 18 and went on to become a popular actress and a pinup girl, her daughter said.

"She was one of the great beauties of all time," Walsh said. "She was a redhead with really green eyes and almost ... the perfect face. She was on the cover of almost every magazine."

She appeared in some of the low-budget Hammer horror movies and co-starred with Patrick O'Neal in the 1957 British TV comedy series "Dick and the Duchess." In the late 1950s, she came to the United States to work on the TV show "Alfred Hitchcock Presents."