Friday, April 4, 2014

Kate O'Mara R.I.P.

Kate O'Mara, who played The Rani on Doctor Who and was a regular on the TV shows The Brothers and Howards' Way, died on 30 March 2014 at the age of 74. She also appeared in such Hammer films as The Vampire Lovers (1970) and Horror of Frankenstein (1970)

Kate O'Mara was born Frances Meredith Carroll on 10 August 1939 in Leicester, England. She was the daughter of actress Hazel Bainbridge and RAF flying instructor John F. Carroll. Her younger sister, Belinda Carroll, also went into acting. Miss O'Mara attended art school for a time before taking up acting.

Kate O'Mara made her film debut in 1956 in Home and Away under the name "Merrie Carroll". She made her stage debut in 1963 in The Merchant of Venice. She made her television debut in an episode of Emergency-Ward 10. During the Sixties she appeared in such TV shows as Danger Man, Gaslight Theatre, No Hiding Place, Court Martial, Adam Adamant Lives!, Mogul, The Saint, The Avengers, Z Cars, The Main Chance, and Department S. She appeared in such films as Promenade (1968), Carnage (1968), Great Catherine (1968), The Limbo Line (1968), The Desperados (1969), The Vampire Lovers (1970), and The Horror of Frankenstein (1970). She appeared on stage in such productions as The Rivals at The Welsh Theatre Company, The Italian Girl at the Wyndham's Theatre, and The Spoils of Poynton at the Mayfair Theatre.

In the Seventies she was a regular on the TV show The Brothers. She also appeared on such TV shows as ITV Saturday Theatre, The Persuaders, Jason King, The Pathfinders, The Dick Emery Show, The Protectors, and Return of The Saint. She appeared in such films as The Tamarind Seed (1974), Whose Child Am I? (1976), and An Unknown Friend (1978) .She appeared on stage in such productions as Suddenly at Home at the Fortune Theatre, Blithe Spirit at the Bristol Old Vic, Loves Labour's Lost at the Thorndike Theatre, The Taming of the Shrew at the Ludlow Festival, and Misalliance at The Birmingham Rep.

In the Eighties she played the role of The Rani in the Doctor Who serials "The Marl of The Rani" and "Time and The Rani". She had regular roles on the TV shows Triangle, Dynasty, and Howard's Way. She also appeared on the TV shows Dempsey and Makepeace and Cluedo. She appeared on stage in such productions as Much Ado About Nothing at the New Shakespeare Company,  The Taming of the Shrew at the Nottingham Playhouse\New Shakespeare Company, Macbeth at the Mercury Theatre, King Lear at the Compass Theatre, and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre.

From the Nineties into the Naughts she appeared on such TV shows as The New Adventures of Robin Hood, Bad Girls, Family Affairs, Crossroads, Doctors, and Benidorm. She played Patsy's conniving sister Jackie in two episodes of Absolutely Fabulous. She provided voices for the animated films Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. She appeared in the film The Road to Ithaca (1999). She appeared on stage in such productions as Cain at the Chichester Festival, My Cousin Rachel at the English Theatre in Vienna, Twelfth Night at the Haymarket Theatre in Basingstoke, Colombe at the Salisbury Playhouse, The Marquise at the Mercury Theatre, and Lord Arthur Saville's Crime at the Mercury Theatre.

Kate O'Mara wrote two novels: When She Was Bad and Good Time Girl

Kate O'Mara was best known for playing villainous characters. The Rani on Doctor Who and Jackie Stone on Absolutely Fabulous were typical of her output on television and in films She was very good at playing femmes fatales, but that was hardly the limit of her talent. On stage she played everything from Elvira in Blithe Spirit  to  Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing. In 2008 she received rave reviews for her role as Marlene Dietrich in Lunch with Marlene at the New End in Hampstead, London. While film and television casting directors seemed content to cast her as vamps, Kate O'Mara was a talented actress who could play a good number of other roles as well.

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