Page last updated at 10:36 GMT, Thursday, 17 April 2008 11:36 UK

Horror actress Court dies aged 82

Hazel Court
The actress had recently finished writing her autobiography

British actress Hazel Court, best known for starring in horror movies such as The Raven, has died aged 82.

Her daughter Sally Walsh said she passed away after a heart attack at her home near Lake Tahoe, California.

Court, known for her fearsome shrieks and gruesome on-screen deaths, also starred in The Premature Burial and The Masque of the Red Death.

"She'd probably get over 100 pieces of fan mail a month and she would reply to every single one," Walsh said.

Successful TV career

"She was one of the great beauties of all time," Walsh said.

"She was a redhead with really green eyes and almost the perfect face. She was on the cover of almost every magazine."

Born in 1926 in Sutton Coldfield, Birmingham, she began appearing in stage productions as a teenager.

Hazel Court
Court was a commissioned sculptor and painter

She was spotted and signed by the J Arthur Rank Organisation, an agency which owned movie studios and theatres.

At 18, Court landed her first movie bit part in Champagne Charlie and a year later starred in Dreaming.

Court also had a successful TV career, co-starring with Patrick O'Neal in the 1957 British comedy series Dick and the Duchess as well as Alfred Hitchcock Presents for US TV.

Besides acting, she was a commissioned sculptor and painter whose works appeared in public galleries.

She married twice, tying the knot to Dermot Walsh first in 1949, and divorcing 14 years later. She wed American actor and director Don Taylor in 1964, and the couple stayed together until his death in 1998.

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