Monday, March 31, 2014


As a tribute to Kate who sadly died yesterday, here is an exerpt from her autobiography 'Vamp Until Ready' Published by Robson Books in 2003... This exerpt is edited.......
Maude Spector, the much loved and revered veteran casting director, who had been instrumental in giving me my first film break in 'Great Catherine', had been in touch with my agent regarding casting for 'The Colby's', an American TV series which was to be a spin-off from 'Dynasty', which was the most high profile show in the world. So I toddled off to Park Lane to meet the American casting director. As I had been out of work, I had precisely £300 in my bank account. I knew that if I was to be in with a chance of getting something as glamorous as a Hollywood TV series, it was absolutely necessary to 'look the part'. My mother had always instilled this into me. She had a very low opinion of director's and producer's imaginations and always insisted that one went along looking as near to what was required as possible. I spent every last penny that I had on a little Valentino number. I dug out some very high black heels, bought two pairs of glossy black tights , in case one laddered and hoped fate took kindly to me. The rain was torrential, so I put a full-length black plastic mackintosh over my outfit, pinned my very long hair into tiny pin curls all over my head, covered these with two head scarves, wore waterproof boots and carried my high heels in a bag. The girl at reception at the sound studio in Soho looked at me as though I had crawled out from under a stone.' Can I help you?' she asked doubtfully.. 'Yes, please. I've come to test for 'The Colby's'. Could I do my hair in the ladies?' The look she gave me said quite plainly that in her opinion, no amount of grooming, hairdressing or even a full blown make-over would enhance my chances of getting past the studio door, never mind into Hollywood!
I emerged five minutes later all legs, hair, cleavage and glowing skin, but most particularly hair. A hugh cloud of the stuff swung and floated around my head like a nimbus. My short skirt and high heels showed my glossy slim legs and trim ankles off to perfection. My Valentino jacket plunged almost to my navel and was nipped in at the waist to make the most of my figure. The receptionist sat there, her mouth agape and nodded her assent dumbly. A few minutes later, I was summoned to do my test. I started the proceedings with one leg in the air as though smoothing on my tights.. I got the idea from the poster of 'The Graduate'. I got through my scene, giving it my all. When I had finished, the casting director got very excited, asked me if I had a green card, when I replied in the negative, assured me that this would not be a problem. I left the studio cock-a-hoop, feeling it was in the bag.
The first encounter of the 'British Bitches' began inauspiciously. It was an eating scene. Joan is very good at these. She is an extremely accomplished film actress and has 'business' for the camera down to a fine art. On this occasion she had decided that she should not do all of the script but improvise the opening sallies. Also she had decreed that we should be eating crudite, thus enabling her to punctuate her remarks with a decisive and appropriate crunch of gleaming, white, perfect teeth on a stick of celery or an unsuspecting radish! The director called action and she opened the unscripted pleasantries. Naturally, I had absolutely no idea what she was going to say and braced myself for the fray. 'Well, Cassie darling.' she began..'it's a lovely surprise to see you again and looking so well, too. I must say, you're very slim. Have you been on a diet?'... 'Yes! as a matter of fact I have,' I countered. 'You ought to try it sometime, ' I continued, giving her the benefit of a cheeky grin and twinkling eyes. Working with Joan was very rewarding. She is a consummate professional.
(c) 2003 ..KATE O' MARA....

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