Hazel Court 1926 - 2008
Word came in from Jim Clatterbaugh over on the Classic Horror Film Board (no relation to Classic-Horror.com) that Hazel Court, a actress who added so much to the horror genre in the course of her career, passed on this morning, April 15th, 2008, at the age of 82. Her autobiography, Hazel Court: Horror Queen, was set to make its United States premiere at the Monster Bash convention in June of this year. No word yet on how this sad news affects that.
On a personal note, I'm surprised at how torn up I am about this, although it makes sense when I think about it. The three principal ingredients of my horror experience growing up were Universal, Hammer, and AIP; Ms. Court featured in the latter two. She was there for the resurgence of Gothic horror in Hammer's Curse of Frankenstein in 1957 and then rode that wave forward playing wicked women in three of Roger Corman's Poe adaptations: Premature Burial, The Raven, and The Masque of the Red Death. I'm embarrassed to say that Curse and the Cormans are the only films of hers that I've seen, but she left an indelible impression. When I first concocted the Masters section, she was on the inaugural list. When I made a few cuts to it a few months ago, she remained, even as others with more extensive horror filmographies were taken off.
She really was a queen in the kingdom of horror. She will be missed.