Ingrid Pitt (born November 21, 1937) is an actress best known for her work in horror films of the 1960s and 1970s.
Born Ingoushka Petrov in Poland to a German father and a Jewish mother, during World War II she and her family were imprisoned in a concentration camp. She survived, and in Berlin, Germany in the 1950s met and married an American soldier and ended up living in California. After her marriage failed, she returned to Europe but after a small role in a film, she headed to Hollywood where she worked as a waitress while trying to make a career in the movies. Her natural hair colour is brown, though she frequently has lightened it to blonde.
In 1965 she debuted in Doctor Zhivago, playing a minor role.
In 1968 she co-starred in the low budget science fiction film The Omegans and in the same year played in Where Eagles Dare opposite Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood.
Pitt next appeared in the Amicus Horror Anthology film The House That Dripped Blood, a gothic horror film that marked the first of a string of early 1970s successes for her in that genre.
It was her work with Hammer Film Productions that elevated her to cult figure status. She starred in The Vampire Lovers, a film based on Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's novella Carmilla, and Countess Dracula, a film based on the legends around Countess Elizabeth Báthory. She played a brief role of a librarian in cult film The Wicker Man (1973), appearing nude in the bathtub.
During the 1980s, Pitt returned to roles in mainstream films and on television but her popularity with horror film buffs saw her in demand for guest appearances at horror conventions and film festivals. Other films Pitt has appeared in outside the horror genre are: Who Dares Wins, (aka The Final Option), Wild Geese 2, Hanna's War etc. Generally cast as a 'baddie', she usually manages to get killed horribly at the end of the final reel. "Being the anti-hero is great - they are always roles you can get your teeth into."
It was at this time that the theatre world also beckoned. Pitt founded her own theatrical touring company and starred in successful productions of Dial M for Murder, Duty Free (aka Don't Bother to Dress), and Woman of Straw.
She has also appeared in many TV shows in the UK and USA - Ironside, Dundee and the Calhane, Doctor Who ("The Time Monster"), Smiley's People, etc.
Pitt made her return to the big screen in the 2000 production The Asylum. The film starred Colin Baker, Patrick Mower, and daughter Steffanie Pitt and was directed by John Stewart.
In 2003, Pitt voiced the role of 'Lady Violator' in Renga Media'sproduction Dominator. The film has the distinction of being the UK's first CGI animated film.
After a period of illness, Pitt returned to the screen in 2006 for the Hammer Films-Mario Bava tribute Sea of Dust, a feature that brought her career full circle.
Of minor note, Pitt also narrates on the 1998 Cradle of Filth album entitled Cruelty and the Beast, though her narration was done strictly in-character as Countess Elizabeth Bathory, whom she had portrayed in Countess Dracula.
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