Anna Massey, English actress, Died at 73


Dead, Anna Raymond Massey on the 3rd of July 2011, she was an English actress.

Born in Thakeham, Sussex on the 11th of August 1937, England, the daughter of British actress Adrianne Allen and Canadian-born Hollywood actor Raymond Massey.

Her brother, Daniel Massey, was also an actor.

Several of her early film roles were in mystery thrillers.

She made her cinema debut in the Scotland Yard film Gideon’s Day (1958), as Sally, daughter of Jack Hawkins’s Detective Inspector.

The director was her godfather John Ford.

She played a potential murder victim in Michael Powell’s cult thriller Peeping Tom (1960) and appeared in Otto Preminger’s Bunny Lake Is Missing (1965).

In 1972, she played the role of the barmaid Babs in Alfred Hitchcock’s penultimate film Frenzy.

In the documentary on the film’s DVD release, Massey mentioned that she originally auditioned for the much smaller role of the secretary Monica, a part for which Jean Marsh was cast.

She also noted that her character’s nude scenes in Frenzy were performed by body doubles.

Massey appeared with her brother Daniel playing deadly siblings in the horror film The Vault of Horror (1973).

She had roles in the British comedy series The Darling Buds of May (1991) and The Robinsons (2005).

She also appeared in a number of mysteries and thrillers on television, including episodes of Inspector Morse, The Inspector Alleyn Mysteries, Midsomer Murders, Strange, Lewis, and Agatha Christie’s Poirot.

She was the narrator of This Sceptred Isle on BBC Radio 4, a history of Britain from Roman times which ran for more than 300 fifteen-minute episodes.

In 2009, she also appeared in a new radio version of The Killing of Sister George.

She was awarded the Laurence Olivier Theatre Award in 1983 (1982 season) for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for “The Importance of Being Earnest”.

She was only two when her parents were divorced and she almost never met her famous father during her childhood (he was working mostly in America by then); she described their relations in her adult life as cordial but distant and said that being Raymond Massey’s daughter was “rather like being one of the daughters of King Lear”.

She also called him the most self-absorbed man she had ever met, pointing out that both she and her brother Daniel had “Raymond” as a middle name.

Massey underwent psychoanalysis, saying later it was ‘an absolute life-saver’ and that without it she ‘would probably have ended up in some clinic’.

She will perhaps be best remembered for her work on British TV, as she earned a Royal Television Society Award and a BAFTA Award for her performance in an adaptation of “Hotel du Lac” (1985).

She was formerly married to actor Jeremy Brett. She has appeared in numerous plays including The Doctor’s Dilemma, School For Scandal, The Glass Menagerie and The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie.

One of her last film roles was Miss Prism in The Importance of Being Earnest, which starred Colin Firth, Rupert Everett and Reese Witherspoon, in 2002.