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Susannah York

I am – Hercules

1) She was nominated for an Oscar and (yes) a Golden Globe for her role in “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” This movie ran constantly on network TV, or so my memory leads me to believe.  Somebody needs to issue this movie on Blu-ray already!

2) She made her feature debut opposite Alec Guinness in “Tunes of Glory.”

3) She played Sophie Western opposite Albert Finney in “Tom Jones.”

4) She played Jane Eyre in “Jane Eyre” opposite George C. Scott.

5) She played the former Lara Lor-Van, an important resident of the doomed planet Krypton, in “Superman,” “Superman II” and Superman IV.”  She became an even bigger deal when producers decided they could cut Marlon Brando out ot the sequels to save money.

Talkbacker "Childs" offers:


An actress who was never afraid to take controversial or unpopular roles in projects that were far from box office certainties, and who actively chose to take the path of an actress, rather than that of a 'star' option that was very much open to her at the height of her popularity, when she made her big splash in the 60's with the likes of Tom Jones, A Man for All Seasons, Tunes of Glory, Freud, and her hugely praised and biggest popular success They Shoot Horses, Don't They? 

Choosing instead to make great, though largely uncommercial films such as The Shout, The Killing of Sister George, Images, Conduct Unbecoming, and the Vonnegut adaptation Happy Birthday Wanda J[u]ne, then suddenly turning around doing something like Sky Riders, with James Coburn and Robert Culp, or Silent Partner with Elliot Gould and Christopher Plummer (both great, under-rated 70's flicks in their own rights), and of course also popping up in the likes of the two Donner directed Superman movies and Yellowbeard, apparently just for the fun of it, she was an actress of skill and telent, but not of pretention, even as she largely trod that non populist path for much of her career. 

On top of that she was a staple of the stage, performing with all the greats of the time, as well as in her own one woman shows, as well as both directing and writing for the stage. It must be said that her attempts at writing for the screen was not as successful however. 

Despite that, and the aging actress curse of being relegated to smaller roles and television as the years go by, she never stopped working, and has left behind her one hell of a filmic legacy, the likes of which any actor worth their salt would be proud. For fans of 60's and 70's cinema especially, but also likely for anyone who ever saw her perform and give her all regardless of the role or project she was in, she will be missed.



Huge girl of cinema!





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Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 17, 2011, 2:36 a.m. CST

    The Killing of Sister George

    by hidden_shallows

    She was also great as Childie in Robert Aldrich's chilling film. I remember being a bit scared of her as a kid from her numerous roles on British TV. RIP. We'll Meet Again!

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 2:43 a.m. CST

    She was a smokin hottie in her day.

    by V'Shael

    When Donner was kicked off of Superman 2, it gave her a chance to shine in that franchise. In the recent Donner recut re-release, it was actually kind of disappointing to see her role was replaced by Brando.

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 2:46 a.m. CST

    i had such a crush on her

    by john old

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 3:19 a.m. CST

    Sad news indeed

    by AsimovLives

    If you were a portuguese in the 70s and early 80s, like i was in my childhood years, it was pratically impossible not to see Susanah York on the TV. She was a regular screen presence due to the british TV series she did and were aired back then. And she was damn pretty. My condolecenses to her family, friends and fans.

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 4:01 a.m. CST

    Was trying to think where I'd seen her recently...

    by revelshade

    Watched the 1984 'Christmas Carol' starring George C. Scott this Xmas. She was Mrs. C. opposite David Warner's Bob Cratchit. Also in 'Yellowbeard' according to IMDB but I don't remember her at all. Good excuse to watch it again. RIP, lovely lady.

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 4:29 a.m. CST

    Tunes of Glory

    by buggerbugger

    Great film that doesn't get much love these days.

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 5:22 a.m. CST

    Sad news indeed...

    by Righteous Brother

    has there been a Pete Postlethwaite obit on AICN yet?

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 6:03 a.m. CST


    by Sprinky

    There are lot of movies to choose from. So I'd like to contribute another hidden gem from York's filmwork. It's "Images" from 1972 directed by Robert Altman from a book she's written herself and stars in it plus it got a score from John Williams and the cimatography is done by Vilmos Zsigmond. Check it out and you'll not be dissapointed. Rest in peace Sussanah York.

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 6:19 a.m. CST

    @righteousbrother - It ran more or less on time.

    by V'Shael

    Quints obit piece -

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 8:20 a.m. CST

    Saw her in Franklyn recently. Great actress. RIP.

    by Mr Nicholas

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 9:07 a.m. CST

    A Christmas Carol

    by tensticks

    She was the Ghost of Christmas Past in the single greatest, most definitive adaptation of all time--the 1984 version with George C. Scott. In addition to her role in the Superman films, she will always have a place in my home every year during the holidays.

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 9:41 a.m. CST

    She looks like...

    by Chanoc

    Farrah Fawcet in the first pic. Beautiful woman. R.I.P.

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 9:44 a.m. CST

    thanks v'shael..

    by Righteous Brother

    I'll check that out. Watched a tribute to him on tv, very sad. Sad news about Susannah York too.

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 9:46 a.m. CST

    A Christmas Carol...

    by Kingasaurus

    Actually, she was Mrs. Cratchit. Carry on.

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 9:46 a.m. CST

    Nice obit for a great actress, and I agree on Christmas Carol

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    That for me is tied as the best adaptation along with the Patrick Stewart version.

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 9:48 a.m. CST

    But once again AICN picks and chooses on obits

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    The great character actor Bill Erwin died a week or two ago, and there was nothing on him. He was superb in Somewhere in Time. Seinfeld fans remember him from the foster grandparent episode.

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 9:50 a.m. CST

    childs, I agree with you. When I said nice obit I was

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    referrring to your comments. In the very beginning. I guess when Jane Fonda and Lindsey Lohan die we'll get the same nude pose shots from them.

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 10:15 a.m. CST

    Silent Partner was a GREAT flick.

    by MAD_MIKE

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 10:21 a.m. CST

    RIP a class act.

    by Dark Doom

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 10:42 a.m. CST

    Damn damn damn damn damn damn damn damn

    by Fred

    How much would it cost to have Death whacked?

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 11:27 a.m. CST


    by Ciderman

    I literally only watched Battle of Britain this morning, a movie where she has the main female role, as an officer and Christopher Plummers love interest. She was very good in it too, a massive film with a colossal cast she shone. RIP Ms York.

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 11:28 a.m. CST

    Thanks Grammaton for Bill Erwin news

    by Carl's hat

    The dude was old in Somewhere in Time (1980) so to hear from you that he just passed away a couple of weeks ago was both sad and surpising. His character in Somewhere...was excellent. Very poignant. Sad loss but lived a long life..96 and the shows he played in. Wow!

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 11:33 a.m. CST

    Funny thing is technically he didn't act with Plummer and Seymour

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    As they were in the past. The whole movie was just seamless. Both he and Seymour attented a few of the annual conventions at the hotel together. He went to almost every one. Plust don't forget he acted with JCVD in Desert Heat. I can't figure out why a geek site like AICN didn't have his obit.

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 12:58 p.m. CST

    Silent Partner

    by alan_poon

    Is that the one set at Christmas? I remember a seventies caper film featuring someone dressed as Santa.

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 2:40 p.m. CST


    by tensticks

    Thanks, I stand corrected. I think Christmas Past was Angela Pleasance. Either way...she was fantastic, and this is a loss.

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 2:57 p.m. CST

    re Battle of Britain

    by Ciderman

    Yup, nothing like a purdy ladee in her underbeneaths to warm the cockles of my heart! As I said, a great movie, how come the Star Wars trilogy gets lots of SFX overhauls when all Battle of Britain needs is a few poor model shots replacing and it's perfect?

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 5:45 p.m. CST

    Rest in peace, Lara

    by The Krypton Kid

    Thank you for your lovely contribution to Superman.

  • Jan. 17, 2011, 7:07 p.m. CST

    She'll always be Superman's mom

    by GeorgieBoy

    Farewell Lara...

  • Jan. 18, 2011, 12:07 a.m. CST

    neat, my post got deleted

    by AzzyAzzy

    cause I said "Who?" and I repeat... "Who?" talk about worthless news. people die. big deal. knowing who some obscure actress was from 19 aught 60 somesuch doesn't make a person COOL or in the know, it makes you know some obscure shit.

  • Jan. 18, 2011, 1:51 a.m. CST

    re azzyazzy

    by Ciderman

    Susanna York wasn't an obscure actress, and her contribution to Superman alone warrants her inclusion here. As for who shouldn't bother turning up, maybe you Azzyazzy should go back under whatever rock you crawled out from under to post, ignorant loser.

  • Jan. 18, 2011, 12:02 p.m. CST


    by animatronicmojo

    I agree, was one brilliant performance and mind-bending film.