Barbara Shelley, Horror Film Legend, Has Died Aged 88

She's been hailed as the "technicolour queen of Hammer" for her work with the Hammer Horror production company.

Barbara Shelley, known to horror fans as an icon of the genre, has died at the age of 88.

In the 1950s and 60s, the British star appeared in numerous films by the Hammer Horror production company, including The Gorgon, Dracula, Prince Of Darkness, Village Of The Damned and Rasputin, The Mad Monk.

Barbara’s agent, Thomas Bowington, confirmed the news of her death on Monday, hailing her as the “technicolour queen of Hammer”.

Barbara Shelley pictured in 2009
Barbara Shelley pictured in 2009

“She really was Hammer’s number one leading lady and the technicolour queen of Hammer,” he said.

“On screen she could be quietly evil. She goes from statuesque beauty to just animalistic wildness.

“She was a regular favourite of Hammer events and autograph shows but also performed on stage with the RSC.”

In character with co-star Christopher Lee on the set of Dracula, Prince Of Darkness
In character with co-star Christopher Lee on the set of Dracula, Prince Of Darkness

He added: “She adored Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing and loved working with them, that was very dear to her.”

Barbara had recently recovered from Covid-19, which she contracted during a hospital visit.

“She went into hospital for a muscle check up and in that process she contracted Covid,” her agent explained.

“But after that she had an infection and was in hospital by herself for two weeks before Christmas. It’s most likely Covid is going to come up on the death certificate.”

In addition to her numerous horror film credits, Barbara appeared in the Doctor Who episode Planet Of Fire, as well as shows like The Avengers, The Borgias and EastEnders, in which she played Hester Samuels.

More recently, in 2010, she was interviewed about her career and work with Hammer Horror by actor and writer Mark Gatiss as part of his series A History Of Horror.

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