Barbara Shelley Of Hammer Horror Fame Passes Away

Another leading lady of classic horror films has passed away.

Barbara Shelley–best known for her stellar roles in various Hammer horror movies in the 1950s and 1960s–passed away at the age of 88 after contracting the coronavirus during a hospital check-up stay, as reported by Deadline.

The British actress starred with horror legend Christopher Lee in 1966’s DraculaPrince of Darkness. Her other standout genre films included Village of the Damned (1960), The Gorgon (1964), RasputinThe Mad Monk (1966) and Quatermass and the Pit (1967). Her starring roles in these and other horror classics earned her the nickname “The Queen of Hammer.”

Shelley’s star also shined on the small screen. She appeared in several episodes of Doctor Who in the 1980s, as well as The AvengersEastEnders and the BBC miniseries The Dark Angel.

Shelley, during a 2009 interview, said she thoroughly enjoyed her time at Hammer, explaining that “Hammer was like a family–a very talented family–with a wonderful atmosphere on the set and a wonderful sense of humor.” She added that she was “very grateful” to her horror films “because they built me a fan base, and I’m very touched that people will come and ask for my autograph.”

Thomas Bowington, Shelley’s agent, called the actress “Hammer’s number one leading lady and the technicolor Queen of Hammer. On screen, she could be quietly evil–she goes from statuesque beauty to just animalistic wildness.”

Most recently, Shelley was interviewed as part of the BBC series A History of Horror with Mark Gatiss in 2010.

The staff of Horror News Network extends its condolences to Shelley’s family, friends and colleagues.

Thomas Tuna
Thomas Tuna
Thomas A. Tuna is a comic book veteran who began his writing career back in the ’70s with Charlton Comics, contributing to such horror titles as Ghost Manor, Haunted, The Many Ghosts of Dr. Graves and Ghostly Haunts. Most recently, he has served as a writer and editor (with more than a smattering of horror yarns) for such comic book websites as Hyper Epics and Red Moon Features. Some of his favorite horror flicks include Jaws, Salem’s Lot, Dracula (with Frank Langella) and Blade. His favorite horror comic books? Tomb of Dracula (by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan) and Swamp Thing (by Len Wein and Berni Wrightson).

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