"Queen of Hammer" dead at the age of 88: British film legend Barbara Shelley, who starred in horror classics from Dracula to The Gorgon, dies of "underlying problems" after fighting at Covid Hospital
- Barbara Shelley died after being in the hospital and contracting coronavirus there
- She recovered from Covid but succumbed to other underlying health problems
- The actress was best known for the Hammer Horror films as well as Doctor Who
- She said in 2003 female fans said they liked the way she "played the strong woman"
Hammer horror film legend Barbara Shelley was mourned today after her death at the age of 88 – after a life full of exciting viewers who still sent their fan mail.
The actress, who starred in the Hammer horror films of the 1950s and 1960s, starred with other icons such as Peter Cushing and Christopher Lee.
Her credits included some of the most iconic horror films in The Gorgon, Dracula, Prince Of Darkness and Rasputin, Quatermass And The Pit, as well as Blood Of The Vampire and Village Of The Damned.
Shelley was one of the most glamorous leading women in the movie theater but insisted that "no one said I was beautiful".
Barbara Shelley and Christopher Lee in the classic Dracula: Prince of Darkness
Shelley split the bill with Christopher Lee in the horror hit that is considered an all-time classic
Barbara Shelley was one of the most recognizable faces of horror, starring in 104 films and TV series
She also appeared in the Doctor Who episode Planet Of Fire, with Peter Davison as the fifth doctor.
Her agent, Thomas Bowington, said, “She really was Hammer's number one leading lady and the technicolor queen of Hammer.
On the screen she could be softly angry. It goes from statuesque beauty to just animal savagery.
"She was a regular favorite of hammer events and autograph shows, but also performed on stage with the RSC."
Barbara Shelley, seen here in 2009, has been dubbed the "Technicolor Queen of Hammer".
Barbara Shelley and Martin Stephens in the classic 1960's Village of the Damned
He added, "She adored Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing and loved working with them, which she loved very much."
Mr Bowington said Shelley was recently in the hospital where she caught Covid-19 but has since recovered.
He said, "It wasn't the Covid that took her, she had underlying problems."
Nicola Bryant, who played Doctor Who assistant Peri Brown alongside her, revealed that she still cherished a gift she gave her on set.
She said today: “It is very sad to hear of Barbara Shelley's death.
& # 39; A sweet person and a talented actress. When we worked on Planet of Fire together, she was so nice to me.
She gave me a little owl that I still own and some good advice. RIP Barbara Shelley. Wise and wonderful woman. & # 39;
Shelley was born Barbra Kowin in 1932 and was also known for television roles on series such as The Saint, The Avengers, The Borgias, Blakes 7 and Crown Court. She later played Hester Samuels in EastEnders.
In 2010, writer and actor Mark Gatiss interviewed Shelley about her career at Hammer Films for his BBC documentary series A History Of Horror.
The London-based production company, founded in 1934, made a number of gothic horror films from the mid-1950s to the 1970s.
Many of them were classic horror characters like Baron Victor Frankenstein, Count Dracula and the Mummy.
In a 2009 interview with The Express, she said she was told by female fans at a science fiction convention that they loved her for her strong roles.
She said, “What I thought was a brilliant thing to say about one. I've never seen it that way. The fact that I still get mail from my horror fan base really touches me.
“Nobody told me that I was beautiful. They said I was photogenic but no one said I was beautiful. If they did I would have had a lot more fun! & # 39;