British horror actress Barbara Shelley has died due to complications from contracting the coronavirus. She was 88 years old.
Shelley was known for her roles in Hammer horror films. She most notably starred alongside Christopher Lee in 1966’s Dracula: Prince of Darkness. Shelley also appeared in Village of the Damned and Quatermass And The Pit. Her presence in the genre earned her the nickname “The First Leading Lady of British Horror.”
Shelley also starred in a Doctor Who serial opposite Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor. She played Sorasta in the serial “Planet of Fire.” Nicola Bryant, who co-starred in the same serial as the Doctor’s companion Peri, tweeted about Shelley’s passing.
Shelley also appeared in notable TV series EastEnders, Blake’s 7, and The Avengers. As per IMDb, her last major acting credit occurred in the 1989 BBC miniseries The Dark Angel.
“She really was Hammer’s number one leading lady and the technicolour queen of Hammer. On screen she could be quietly evil. She goes from statuesque beauty to just animalistic wildness,” said Shelley’s agent Thomas Bowington.
Bowington also said he believed Shelley caught COVID-19 during a regular hospital check-up.