Elizabeth Sellars, Actress in 'The Barefoot Contessa,' Dies at 98

United Artists/Photofest
Elizabeth Sellars with Humphrey Bogart in 1954's 'The Barefoot Contessa'

The Scottish star also appeared in 'Désirée,' '55 Days in Peking' and 'The Mummy's Shroud.'

Elizabeth Sellars, the Scottish actress who starred with Humphrey Bogart and Ava Gardner in The Barefoot Contessa, with Marlon Brando in Désirée and with Peter O'Toole in The Day They Robbed the Bank of England, has died. She was 98.

Sellars died Monday at her home in France, her family reported.

Sellars co-starred as the wife of a pilot (Jack Hawkins) in Decision Against Time (1957), one of the last films made by famed Ealing Studios, and worked with Gardner again in the historical drama 55 Days at Peking (1963).

She also appeared in the Hammer films Cloudburst (1951) and The Mummy's Shroud (1967), with Richard Burton in Prince of Players (1955) and Peter Finch in The Shiralee (1957) and in such British crime dramas as Guilt Is My Shadow (1950), Dirk Bogarde's Hunted (1952) and, with John Mills, The Long Memory (1953).

In 1954, Sellars portrayed Jerry, the wife of a Hollywood writer-director (Bogart), in Joseph L. Mankiewicz's The Barefoot Contessa, and she played Julie Clary, the real-life queen consort of Spain who falls for Joseph Bonaparte (Cameron Mitchell), in Désirée. (Brando played her brother-in-law, Napoleon.)

Sellars was the lead actress in John Guillermin's The Day They Robbed the Bank of England (1960), starring with O'Toole, then a 28-year-old stage actor with two minor film credits. He would next star in Lawrence of Arabia.

Born on May 6, 1921, in Glasgow, Scotland, Sellars studied law before being persuaded to attend a stage audition with housemate Jean Hardwicke, niece of legendary British actor Cedric Hardwicke. She enrolled in the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, then made her London stage debut opposite Alec Guinness in The Brothers Karamazov.

In the early 1950s, Hunted director Charles Crichton described Sellars' personality as "a cross between the early allure of Ingrid Bergman and the power of Bette Davis," and London journalist L.R. Swainson wrote that she had "lashings of glamour of a breathless, brooding type usually reserved for sultry Hollywood."

On the stage, Sellars also starred in Noël Coward's South Sea Bubble and in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie.

She was married to surgeon Frank Henley from 1960 until his death in 2009. Survivors include a stepson, Raymond.