Friday, April 10, 2015

A-Z Challenge 2015: I is for Ingrid Pitt!

I would have first seen Ingrid Pitt in the pages of Fangoria or Starlog magazine in an interview article - or possibly in a guest appearance on Doctor Who in the early to mid 80's. I thought she was gorgeous, but it was difficult in those days to track down movies - so it took a long time to see more of her on film.

I am not trying to make these posts giant biographical studies on the subject - in the interests of brevity I'm concentrating on my experiences with them and certain high points in their lives. But when you come upon someone like Ingrid Pitt - who is not widely known outside of genre circles but who lived a full and pretty amazing life - it's hard not to pile on the details.

Ingrid Pitt was born as Ingoushka Petrov in Warsaw. Poland November 21, 1937. During World War II she and her family were imprisoned in a concentration camp. The horrors she saw in her childhood stayed with her throughout her life. She made it out of the camp, and married in Berlin in the 1950's. After appearing in the Spanish scarepic Sound of Horror in 1964 - she moved around, with stops in Hollywood and back in Europe. During this period she appeared in Doctor Zhivago and a low budget science fiction picture - The Omegans.

She got a high profile role as Heidi in Where Eagles Dare with Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood in 1968. She didn't really capitalize on this, however, and it was two years before she made another movie.

Where Eagles Dare - Ingrid and Clint in a clinch.

Ah, but what a movie! Ingrid was hired by Hammer Films for their sexy horror movie The Vampire Lovers. (That's one of the movies it would have been difficult to track down in the 80's - but it's in the video vault now!) After that Ingrid had perhaps her greatest role in another Hammer film - playing a character based on the real life and very evil Elisabeth Bathory in Countess Dracula. (I'll leave you to look up Ms. Bathory if you want to know more about her.)

Sharing a moment with Peter Cushing behind the scenes on The Vampire Lovers.

She cemented her horror movie status with two more good movies - The House That Dripped Blood (1971) and The Wicker Man (1973). She also worked in television in the 70's as well. She started writing too - producing her first novel Cuckoo Run in 1980.

Vamping it up in The House That Dripped Blood.

In the 80's she appeared in more movies, but they were suspense thrillers and espionage movies - she even provided an uncredited voice for Octopussy in 1983 - and wrote three more novels.

After her Doctor Who appearance she and her husband pitched a story for Sixth Doctor Colin Baker - but the story - called The Macros - never appeared before the cameras. It was later produced as an audio adventure for the Big Finish audio series.

She did not act in the 1990's - concentrating on her writing and turning out three reference books and her autobiography and starting a website about her life and career - The Pitt of Horror.  She returned to acting in the 2000's and continued writing - including columns in magazines like Shivers, TV & Film Memorabilia, and Motoring and Leisure. She also appeared at horror conventions and autograph shows - where she was hugely popular with the fans who came to see her.

Later in life - still a gorgeous woman.

Sadly, she collapsed in November 2010 and passed away on November 23rd, two days after her 73rd birthday.

Ingrid Pitt left a lasting impression as a voluptuous and sexy presence in horror, despite only appearing in a half dozen scarepics - but the ones she did are well worth checking out - so go track down some Ingrid Pitt - you won't be sorry!

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!


  1. Glorious... I had forgot she was in Where Eagles Dare... thank you for reminding about the beauty she is and was in cinema history...

  2. Thanks for sharing. You seem very dedicated to this topic and probably know a lot of movie trivia!
    Hopping by from A-Z.


    1. Thanks for coming by! And following! Double thanks! I might not be the worst phone-a-friend for movie questions...

  3. Craig, it's so wonderful to hear about these fascinating people. I'd never heard of Ingrid Pitt. Great post and pics.

  4. I love how some actors kept their hand in the industry, even though they weren't making films. I never thought of actors as wanting to write--but here you have it. Another awesome post!

    1. Thank you sir! I always know you'll appreciate a story where someone carves out a writing career.

  5. This post kinda makes me sad - somehow the news of her death had slipped past me. She always seemed like one of the most iconic Hammer girls to me, but it's interesting that you mentioned she was only in a handful of horror films full stop... but she certainly left a lasting impression.