Monday, March 31, 2014

TRIBUTE : KATE O'MARA .... 1939 - 2014 ...

Kate O'Mara - obituary

Kate O'Mara was an actress who delighted 'Dynasty' audiences with her glowering showdowns with Joan Collins

Kate O'Mara with her Dynasty co-stars John Forsythe and Christopher Cazenove
Kate O'Mara with her Dynasty co-stars John Forsythe and Christopher Cazenove  Photo: REX
Kate O'Mara, who has died aged 74, was an actress whose cliff-high cheek bones, brooding glare and nifty line in tough talk fuelled a successful international television career. She first came to prominence in cult British series, such as Dr Who and Triangle, but found international fame as Joan Collins’s catty sister in the hugely popular American television show Dynasty. However, her onscreen persona — granite graced with lace — was often at odds with the more placid elements of her personality. “Recently I did The Graham Norton Show, which was very alarming,” she said in 2008. “He was being crude and I’m not very good with crude. I like sophistication and elegance.”
As Cassandra “Caress” Morrell — the revenge-obsessed sybling of Collins’s Alexis Colby — O’Mara excelled in bouts of verbal sparring with her British co-star over the course of 19 episodes in the mid-1980s. Cassandra is a jailbird with payback on her mind. Having been released from a Venezuelan prison — where she was incarcerated over an incident involving Alexis — she arrives in Denver, Colorado, under the name Caress. Her plan is to make a fortune by writing a searing exposé on her sister’s dark, salacious past.
Kate O'Mara at home in 2008 (REX)
Alexis discovers the ploy, however, covertly buys up the publishing company and pulps the project. “I’ve come to ask you for your autograph, congratulations sister dearest, it’s a wonderful piece of fiction,” sneers Alexis. “Of course I’ve read it. It doesn’t take very long. It’s like a comic book without the pictures.”              
“We had a tremendous bitchy tension between us,” recalled O’Mara. “My character Caress was like an annoying little mosquito who just kept coming back and biting her.” The performance was a masterclass in melodrama — delivering a rollercoaster ride of fictional success and trauma that was matched by her own life story. “I’m part of six generations of a theatrical family,” she wrote in her memoirs, Vamp Until Ready: A Life Laid Bare (2003). “For over 40 years I’ve done everything from Shakespeare to Hollywood soaps, from Restoration Comedy to Cult Television Drama, from Westerns to Pantomime. I have been nothing if not diverse! My personal life, however, has been a disaster area. Rape, desertion, adoption, divorce and numerous relationships with very much younger men. And this for someone who sees herself as an intellectual and can’t be doing with sex at all... Oh well, the show must go on!”

Kate O'Mara with her Dynasty co-stars, Christopher Cazenove, John Forsythe and Joan Collins
Kate O’Mara was born in Leicester on August 10 1939, the daughter of John F. Carroll, an RAF flying instructor, and actress Hazel Bainbridge. After boarding school she studied at art school before becoming a full-time actress (her younger sister, Belinda, followed suit). Her early television appearances during the 1960s included roles in series such as The Saint, The Champions, The Avengers and Z-Cars.
In the early Seventies she made a more selacious name for herself as the voluptuous figure of desire in erotic horror B-movies such as The Vampire Lovers (1970). Equally dubious was Triangle, an early-Eighties soap opera in which she starred. Set on a North Sea ferry running a route between Felixstowe and Gothenberg it has often been cited as one of the worst pieces of television ever produced (although retrospectively it drew admirers).

Kate O'Mara in The Saint in 1967
The move to America for Dynasty came with its own problems for a country girl from England. “I had a five-year contract on Dynasty and after two months I was thinking, goodness, how am I going to stand it out here?” she recalled. “It’s just relentless sunshine. It’s a desert at the end of the day. I love the seasons, I love winter and autumn and rain. The people were very charming but I did find that it wasn’t terribly good for my soul.” She was let go after a series. “The studio said: 'Joan thinks it’s not a good idea to have another brunette on the show,’” recalled O’Mara. “I was quite relieved. I’d been asked to appear in King Lear back in Britain, and they said: 'Oh you go back and do your little play,’ which I thought was hilarious.”
If Triangle had been Crossroads-on-sea then her role as a cut-throat businesswoman in thee sailing soap opera Howard’s Way in 1990 at least saw her play up-stream with the regatta set. O’Mara also had a recurring role playing the renegade Time Lord “The Rani” in the cult Doctor Who series. Appearing opposite both the Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy incarnations of the Doctor, her scientifically-minded devilish character enslaved planets to experiment on their subjects (during last year’s 50th anniversary celebrations of the series she expressed a wish to come back to the role as an older woman).

Kate O'Mara, alongside Shirley Bassey and Joan Collins, meeting the Queen at the Royal Academy in 2012
In later years she returned to familiar territory playing another character with a difficult sister — this time playing second sibling to Joanna Lumley’s Patsy in Absolutely Fabulous. During the Ninties she followed her Joan Collins lead and turned her hand to writing, publishing two novels (When She Was Bad, 1995, and Good Time Girl, 1993) and two autobiographical volumes (Vamp Until Ready, 2003, and Game Plan: A Woman’s Survival Kit, 1990).
In 2012, her son, Dickon Young — formerly a stage manager for the Royal Shakespeare Company — was found hanged at the family home. He had had a history of mental illness. Late in life she talked how she had overcome her own bouts of depression : “particularly during my first marriage break-up 31 years ago. But I’ve since learnt a cure for depression: listening to J.S. Bach and reading P.G. Wodehouse. This got me through the break-up of my second marriage 17 years ago. The great thing about Wodehouse is that his books are full of romantic problems and yet so hilarious that it puts things in perspective.” The quiet country life in occassional retirement in Somerset suited her. “I’m not frightened of dying, but I love the countryside so much and I’m going to miss it. I’d like to be out in the wind and the trees for ever.”
Kate O’Mara married twice. First to Jeremy Young in 1961 (dissolved in 1976) and, secondly, in 1993, to Richard Willis (dissolved 1996). Her son, from a separate relationship, predeceased her.
She is survived by her sister.

Kate O’Mara, born August 10 1939, died March 30 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....


Was saddened to hear that the lovely Kate passed away yesterday and as a tribute here is an extract from her first autobiographical book.. This book was published by Sidgwick and Jackson in 1990 and is a mixture of autobiography/beauty book. Kate hated the finished book, hated the title, she rectified the situation with her wonderful complete autobiography..'Vamp Until Ready' in 2003, (will feature this in a future post).. This exerpt is edited....
One can never plan anything in this profession and it is often when one is at one's lowest ebb, that a glorious job turns up. In this instance my career was in the doldrums, my box office appeal was zilch and I was seriously considering giving up acting all together, when two things happened. I was asked to test for 'The Colbys' and I was sent a brilliant script by Moss Hart. I didn't get 'The Colbys', but the studio decided I was perfect to play Joan Collins's sister in 'Dynasty'. As I had already started rehearsals for 'Light Up The Sky', I was unable to accept the Hollywood offer, which came as a big disappointment, because at that time Joan was the biggest international star around and to play her sister was quite a coup. Fortunately the studio decided to wait for me, they wrote me into the series after I had finished the West End run of the play. I had first met Joan at Pinewood in 1967, where we were both making movies. I remember sitting in the studio restaurant and observing her at the next table. I couldn't take my eyes off her! I thought her the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. The other day I was having lunch with her in a restaurant in Belgravia and I have to say I have not changed my opinion. Joan has the most beautiful complexion and perfect features. She has a wicked sense of humour, a sparkling personality and a ready wit and is a delight to be with socially and highly professional at work. She is a consummate film actress and I learned a lot from her. My first day on 'Dynasty' ran something like this.....
Wake up call at 4.30am. At 5.30 I was at the studios. They pulled my hair off my face and gave me very little make up. I then had to get into my prison garb, a shapeless garment in grey with a long skirt and high neck, some really naff flat Mexican plaited leather shoes, then taken downstairs to the set. We got on the set and rehearsed, the director, an ex-actress named Betty Maguire seemed pleased, suggested a couple of things, then called for the stand-ins. After a hiatus of about an hour, we finally got the first shot done. We were setting up the third shot when a very pretty, very thin blonde suddenly appeared in front of me and clasped my hand. This proved to be Linda Evans. "I've just come to say hello and welcome", she smiled "to see if you were all right". She was wearing blue jeans, a pale blue shirt and white fringed moccasin type boots, she had two rollers in her hair at the sides. A few set-ups later John Forsythe wandered on to the set, also, he claimed, to welcome me. After we finally got the last shot done, I went off to make-up to have myself made glamorous as we were having more costume fitting in the afternoon. When I was almost glamorised Linda Evans popped her head round the door to pass a few complimentary remarks. A few moments later the door burst open and Stephanie Beacham appeared. In about five minutes flat she managed to give me a rundown on her new lifestyle, code of behaviour at the studio and her two phone numbers (her Malibu home and her one in town). I had been given the use of Diahann Carroll's dressing room, the walls of which boasted much ego-trip memorabilia. I was in the throes of casting a jaundiced eye over all this when my make-up man Bill put his head in and said.."Would you like to meet your sister?".. "Rather!".. I enthused.
I heard him go two doors along, Linda was next door, and repeat the question. There was a sort of squeal followed by a rat-tat-tat of determined high heels on hard, shiny surface and the next moment Joanie was asking if she could come and sit down. She was clad entirely in cream, trousers, shirt, scarf, shoes and not wearing a scrap of make-up, looking stunning, her hair scraped back off her face and secured with an elastic band. Joan flung herself on to the black leather sofa and asked me how I was getting on. Did I know anything about the storyline? Where was I staying? Were they paying? "Good Lord. Yes!" I said. "Good". She said.  I told her I thought she was wonderful on the show and meant it, she seemed pleased. She thought it would be a good idea if I had an affair with Dex, that would stir things up a bit! Suddenly she could hear her phone ringing in her room. She let out another squeal and leaped up. "I must go. I've a dozen messages to take. I can't wait for our first scene together.. They are all longing for it..the Battle of the British Bitches!"..She laughed. "The BBB!".. And she tore off down the corridor. A little while later I bumped into her and Linda, both fully made up and dressed and both looking glorious, Linda in black and white, Joan in red.. After that I went off for another costume fitting and was put into a gorgeous black number, designer Nolan Miller was called... "Well it is just sensational!".. he said.
Elaine Rich who practically runs the show was summoned. She stopped dead in the doorway, putting a hand to her brow.."What is this?"... Nolan turned away exasperated. "For heaven's sake, if we have to worry about what every other woman in the entire cast is wearing..."
"No.. Just what Joan wears..She mustn't have the Joan look!"
There followed a heated debate, after which the divine black dress was removed from my person, never to be seen again..except I imagine, on Joan! After this they fished out a little swathed gold lame number with matching frilled shawl. Again Elaine was called, again she had a turn and said Joan had worn something similar. "Yes! But that was four years ago!" said the despairing Nolan. Another fierce argument ensued, Elaine accepted reluctantly that it was nothing like the one Joan wore! We finally all went our ways.

I had been invited by ABC TV to attend a Dynasty/Colbys bash and after some costume fittings, spent the rest of the day getting ready. At seven o' clock , my agent Michael and I went to our waiting limousine. We arrived at The Beverly Wilshire and climbed out into a sea of people , popping flashbulbs and throngs of reporters. We then entered a room full of glittering people, none of whom we knew. After a drink, we all drifted into dinner. More or less everyone else was there, including Ricardo Montalban, who I had been given to understand was playing my boyfriend. Among the Colbys I spotted David Hedison, whom I had worked with in 1970. We had done a TV play for Anglia directed by Alvin Rakoff, in which I played Richard Johnson's wife and David my American lover. He didn't seem too pleased to see me amongst the present throng. After the starter, a producer decided to introduce each member of both casts to the multitude. I prayed that I wouldn't be included in this mass exposure, but to my horror I heard an introduction that began with..'The newest member of the Dynasty cast, an English actress..' The spotlight swinging over in my direction.. So I bowed and smiled, the whole ghastly scene easily surpassed my worst nightmares. The rest of the evening passed off without incident and was very thankful when Michael suggested that, as various other people were leaving, we might as well go too.  As we were leaving, Nolan Miller came up to me with Barbara Stanwyck on his arm and said. "Barbara.. I'd like you to meet Kate O' Mara. Kate.. This is Barbara." Miss Stanwyck took my hand and said."Barbara?" Nolan said.. "No! You're Barbara. This is Kate, she is playing Joan's sister."... "Who's Joan?" enquired Miss Stanwyck, totally baffled. "Oh..Never mind." said Nolan wearily. "I don't know who anyone is." complained Miss Stanwyck with desperation. Nolan led her away, a beaten man who was exhibiting all the signs of having spent a lifetime of coping with difficult women!

(c) 1990.. Kate O' Mara...

Sunday, March 30, 2014


Following on from my news that 'The Moneychangers' is currently out on dvd in Germany under it's 'Die Bankiers' title with it's English soundtrack.. For those in the USA the series is currently on pre-order for it's American release on May 20th from Paramount...
Click the following link to pre-order your copy now!


Joan back in LA after a most successful show in Barbados had a most eventful dinner with Jackie as they literally felt the earth move during an uninvited earthquake.. Do hope Joan's martini was only shaken and not stirred!

Saturday, March 29, 2014


Just to mention that the miniseries 'The Moneychangers' in which Joan guest starred as seductive call girl Avril Devereaux is now available from CBS in Germany.. It's released under it's German title 'Die Bankiers' with both English and German soundtracks.. Although not a great cover, the full series is included over two discs.. You can buy the dvd which also stars Kirk Douglas .. Christopher Plummer .. Susan Flannery and Anne Baxter by clicking the following link....


Joan is totally animated in this photo from the 2013 animated 3d feature 'Saving Santa' where she plays the evil Vera Baddington.. The film gets a UK dvd release on October 27th.. Order from the following link...

Friday, March 28, 2014


Joan's latest TV role... QVC's best-selling beauty queen: Products from actress's range sell out within an hour of appearing on the shopping channel

  • Her Timeless Beauty collection includes £23 foundation and £25.50 lipstick
  • QVC claims customers desperate to recreate look from 1980s series Dynasty
  • Appearance follows TV commercials for Snickers and Marks and Spencer
    By Laura Cox
Products from her Timeless Beauty line for shopping channel QVC have proved so popular that many sold out within an hour of her first appearance this month.
Diva: Shopping channel QVC says viewers have rushed to imitate the look worn by Joan Collins
Familiar face: The star's appearance followed adverts for Snickers in which she poked fun at her reputation
A £23 foundation, a crystal compact mirror at £33, a lipstick for £25.50 and a £32 ‘eyelift in a bottle’ all proved best-sellers for Miss Collins, as viewers rushed to copy her glamorous Hollywood style.
And three subsequent shows on the satellite channel saw two other products sell out within the hour – a fragrance called I am Woman, priced at £21, and a £17 Fade To Perfect concealer.Miss Collins has picked up a number of beauty tricks and tips throughout her lengthy career – including from Marilyn Monroe’s make-up artist Allan Snyder – and no doubt will have encompassed many into her 18-piece range.
Yesterday, QVC’s senior beauty buyer Sandra Vallow explained that customers were desperate to recreate the glamour of Miss Collins as Alexis Carrington Colby in Dynasty during her 1980s heyday.
She said: ‘Who wouldn’t want to own an Alexis lipstick? The QVC beauty buying team were so excited to be launching the Joan Collins cosmetics collection and it didn’t disappoint.

Joan Collins Timeless Beauty range - Lip & Nail Collection (£25)Joan Collins timeless beauty range (mirror)

Star: Miss Collins, pictured with her new range, was named England's most beautiful girl at the age of 18
‘With six sell-out products it just shows that Joan’s glamour and beauty is inspiring for customers of all ages.’
Miss Collins was just 18 when she was voted the Most Beautiful Girl in England by the Photographers Association.
She made her name as a Hollywood star in her 20s, and went on to land the role of Alexis in 1981, when she was 48. Although the beauty range is a first for Miss Collins, she has also put her name to several popular novels she has penned.
Most recently she took part in a Snickers advertisement, in which she poked fun at her reputation for being a diva. And she has appeared in a number of other commercials, including one for high street retailer Marks and Spencer.
Her latest venture makes her one of a number of stars to have enjoyed success selling products on QVC, which has seen a turn-around in its fortunes from the days when it was dismissed as a poor alternative to the high street.
Joan CollinsJoan Collins (file photo)

Joan CollinsBritish actress Joan Collins

Now it is the world’s most watched television retailer and reaches 26million homes in the UK. Miss Collins will next be appearing on the channel on May 30 and May 31.
The star was 22 when she headed to Hollywood and landed sultry roles in several popular films, including The Girl in the Red Velvet Swing (1955) and Rally ’Round the Flag, Boys! (1958).
While she continued to make films in the US and the UK throughout the 1960s, her career languished in the 1970s, where she appeared in a number of horror movies.
Near the end of the decade, she starred in two films based on best-selling novels by her younger sister Jackie.
Returning to her theatrical roots, she also played the title role in the 1980 British revival of The Last of Mrs. Cheyney and later had a lead role in the 1990 revival of Noel Coward’s Private Lives.
She won a Golden Globe  Award for Best Actress in 1982  and received a star on the  Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1983 for career achievement.


This wonderful clip features Joan and Arnold Schwarzenegger presenting the technical awards at the 1984 Oscar Ceremony...


This rare shot features Joan shooting a scene for her guest shot on the short lived series 'Gibbsville' with co-star Gig Young in 1976..

Thursday, March 27, 2014


Joan looks sensational on her final show for March on QVC where she presented her sensational new line of beauty products - 'Timeless Beauty'.. As Mother's Day approaches any item from Joan's Timeless range would make the ideal gift for that special lady! Check out to make your selection!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Joan takes a break on set of the sitcom 'Roseanne' during filming of her guest shot as Roseanne's cousin Ronnie...

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Monday, March 24, 2014


NationNews Barbados - Your News, Your Time, Your Way


. (Sandy Pitt)

SUN, MARCH 23, 2014 - 12:06 AM

Joan Collins engaged a rapt audience at the opening of Holders Season at Holders House last night.
The British-born actress, who is best remembered for her role as Alexis Carrington of Dynasty fame, entertained the hundreds in attendance with tales of her early days in Hollywood.
She revealed what is was like working with Joan Crawford, Frank Sinatra and other legendary movie icons, causing the crowd to erupt in bursts of laughter.
The actress also talked about coming to Barbados years earlier to star in the film Island in the Sun with Harry Belafonte.

Sunday, March 23, 2014


Joan played to a sellout crowd in the grounds of Holder's House in Barbados for the opening night of the Virgin Atlantic Holders Season.. Here are some shots from the event... Many thanks to Corrie Scott & Claire Blondeau for sharing these shots..


19 Impeccable Style Tips From "Dynasty’s" Alexis Carrington

This ’80s diva should be everyone’s fashion muse. posted on
ABC Television
You should always know the power of the shoulder pad!

Remember: The bigger the shoulder pad, the closer to God.


2. Nothing says “I will destroy your company and sleep with your husband,” like shoulder wings.

Paramount / Via

3. An Italian cigarette makes the best accessory when cussing out a sworn enemy.

4. If you’re going to be arrested, make sure you do it in a ball gown.

Paramount / Via
Jeans are for TRASH.

5. Know how to work a hat -— no matter how ridiculous it looks.


6. When it comes to fur, you should be giving Cruella de Ville a run for her money.

ABC Television


7. And don’t forget the matching fur hat.

Paramount / Via

Basically, at all times you should like an extra from Doctor Zhivago.



Lara Antipov, eat your heart out.

8. Also, your lingerie should be covered in fur too…

Paramount / Via

9. …or, at the very least, feathers.


10. There is no such thing as too many accessories…

Paramount / Via

11. …or too much sparkle!

ABC Television
Yes, you want to look like a figure skater.

12. When in doubt add some ruffles to your dress…

ABC Television

13. …or weird embroidery. This is the best way to confuse your sworn enemies with glamour.

Paramount / Via

14. This is the only way you should look when taking a nap:

Paramount / Via
Sweatpants are for TRASH.

15. Nothing adds more drama than a veil.

ABC Television Group
ABC Television Group


ABC Television Group

16. Just because you’re laid up in the hospital doesn’t mean you can slouch on the glamour.

Paramount / Via

17. And this is especially true of bathtubs.

Paramount / Via
Perfectly made up hair and makeup? Check.

18. There is nothing more glamorous than gold lamé.

ABC Television

19. But the most important style tip: Always look fabulous, even when you’re getting slapped.