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Veronica Carlson, the British actress who starred for Hammer Films opposite Christopher Lee in Dracula Has Risen From the Grave and alongside Peter Cushing in Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed, has died. She was 77.
Carlson died Sunday of natural causes at her home in Bluffton, South Carolina, her daughter, Carly Love, told The Hollywood Reporter.
To complete a trilogy at Hammer, Carlson starred with Ralph Bates, Kate O’Mara and future Darth Vader actor David Prowse in the dark comedy Horror of Frankenstein (1970).
Born on Sept. 18, 1944, in Yorkshire, England, Carlson attended art school and graduated from High Wycombe College of Technology and Design.
She had appeared in the 1967 films Casino Royale and Smashing Time when she was noticed by Hammer executive Jimmy Carreras, she recalled in a 2014 interview.
“I had a photograph of me coming out of the waves in a white bikini on the front page of a tabloid newspaper,” she said. “Jimmy Carreras saw that photograph and said he wanted me in his next Hammer movie. So, I went for an audition and I ended up with Dracula Has Risen From the Grave.”
In that 1968 film, directed by Freddie Francis, Carlson, as the niece of a clergyman, is pursued and bitten by Lee in the third of his 10 feature turns as the Prince of Darkness. Then, in Terence Fisher’s Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed (1969), her character is raped by Cushing’s Baron Victor Frankenstein.
Cushing “got me through that awful rape scene that was thrown into [the movie],” she said. “We worked on that together, and he resolved the problems as best he possibly could.”
Carlson reunited with Cushing in The Ghoul (1975) and with other Hammer stars of yesteryear in House of the Gorgon (2019).
She also appeared on a 1969 episode of Roger Moore‘s The Saint, starred on the 1972 ITV crime series Spyder’s Web and worked with David Niven in the spoof Old Dracula (1974).
She was an accomplished painter as well.
In addition to her daughter, survivors include her sons, Adam and Marcus; grandchildren Cadence, Canon, Nova, Conor, Alexander, Jaxson and Ava; son-in-law Jon; daughters-in-law Ashley and Rachel; step-daughters Janie and Sally; and nephews Marc and Paul.
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