Friday, 15 April 2016

Godspeed Adrienne Corri

Adrienne Corri, who appeared in such films as Doctor Zhivago (1965) and Vampire Circus (1972) as well as the TV show Sword of Freedom, died on March 13 2016 at the age of 85. The cause was coronary artery disease.

Adrienne Corri was born Adrienne Riccoboni in Glasgow on November 13 1930. Her mother was Olive Smethurst. Her father was Luigi Riccoboni, who ran the Crown Hotel in Callander, Perthshire. She was still a teenager when she attended the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. She made her television debut in an adaptation of Jean Cocteau's The Infernal Machine in 1949. That same year she made her film debut in The Romantic Age (1949). In 1949 she also appeared in the television production Summer Day's Dream.

In the Fifties she played Milady de Winter in a TV mini-series adaptation of The Three Musketeers. She was a regular on the TV shows Opportunity Murder and Sword of Freedom. She guest starred on such shows as Celanese Theatre, Robert Montgomery Presents, Rheingold Theatre, Colonel March of Scotland Yard, The Count of Monte Cristo, The Vise, The Buccaneers, William Tell, The Invisible Man, and Armchair Mystery Theatre. She also appeared in such films as The River (1951), The Kidnappers (1953), Devil Girl from Mars (1954), Meet Mr. Callaghan (1954), The Feminine Touch (1956), Behind the Headlines (1956), Second Fiddle (1957), The Big Chance (1957), Corridors of Blood (1958), The Rough and the Smooth (1959), and The Tell-Tale Heart (1960).

In the Sixties she appeared in such films as The Hellfire Club (1961), Dynamite Jack (1961), Lancelot and Guinevere (1963), Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965), A Study in Terror (1965), Doctor Zhivago (1965), The Viking Queen (1967), Africa: Texas Style (1967), and Moon Zero Two (1969). She guest starred on such shows as One Step Beyond, ITV Television Theatre, Paris 1900, Danger Man, Armchair Theatre, Adam Adamant Lives!, Journey into the Unknown, The Champions, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), Department S, and UFO.

In the Seventies Adrienne Corri starred on the TV series and mini-series You're Only Young Twice, Eyeless in Gaza, A Family at War, and Love in a Cold Climate. She guest starred on such shows as The Adventurer, Bedtime Stories, and Doctor Who. She appeared in the films A Clockwork Orange (1971), Vampire Circus (1972), Madhouse (1974), Rosebud (1975), Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978), and The Human Factor (1979).

From the Eighties to the Nineties she guest starred on the shows Dramarama, Shades of Darkness, Sunday Premiere, and Lovejoy.

Adrienne Corri also performed on stage. She was part of the Old Vic Company from 1962 to 1963. In 1963 she appeared on Broadway in The Rehearsal.

Adrienne Corri also wrote the book The Search for Gainsborough in which she sought to prove a portrait of  David Garrick had been painted by a young Thomas Gainsborough.

While Adrienne Corri often played the lead in films and TV shows, she should perhaps best be considered a character actress. Throughout her career she played a wide variety of roles. In fact, it was not unusual for her to look extremely different from role to role. She played noblewomen many times, in everything from the horror movie The Hellfire Club to the action movie Rosebud. Despite this she played the disfigured prostitute Angela in A Study in Scarlett, the cigar smoking brothel operator Mistress Overdone in a 1979 television adaptation of Measure for Measure, a Gypsy woman in Vampire Circus, and disfigured, crazed former horror movie star Faye Carstairs Flay in Madhouse. Adrienne Corri was certainly not afraid to play roles in which she sometimes looked less than attractive. Regardless of whether she was playing a beautiful noblewoman or a disfigured madwoman, Adrienne Corri always gave a good performance. What is more, she gave good performances regardless of the material in which she appeared, whether it was a low budget horror movie, a Shakespeare play, or a big budget blockbuster. Quite simply, she was a character actress of remarkable talent.

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