Actress Anna Massey, whose roles ranged from lonely spinsters to Margaret Thatcher, died of cancer on Saturday. She was 73.
The daughter of Canadian-born Hollywood character Raymond Massey and British actress Adrianne Allen, Massey was a mainstay of period dramas, appearing in television adaptations of Thomas Hardy’s “Tess of the D’Urbervilles,” Charles Dickens’ “Oliver Twist” and many others.
In 2006, she played former prime minister Margaret Thatcher in the TV drama “Pinochet in Suburbia.”
Massey’s first significant role came in Michael Powell’s experimental 1960 horror film “Peeping Tom,” about a homicidal voyeur. She played an innocent who finally learns the truth about her neighbor.
She had a supporting role in Otto Preminger’s 1965 psychological thriller “Bunny Lake Is Missing,” and she played the cockney barmaid in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Frenzy.”
She appeared in George Roy Hill’s “A Little Romance” in 1979 with Laurence Olivier and a young Diane Lane as well as in Hill’s “The Little Drummer Girl” in 1984 with Diane Keaton.
In 2002 she appeared in Oliver Parker’s adaptation of “The Importance of Being Earnest” as Miss Laetitia Prism as well as in “Possession,” starring Gwyneth Paltrow; in 2004 she had a supporting role in Brad Anderson’s “The Machinist,” starring Christian Bale.
She was critically acclaimed for her work onstage. She won a Tony nomination in 1957 for her role in “The Reluctant Debutante,” her stage debut. The actress won an Olivier Award in 1983 for “The Importance of Being Earnest.”
Massey more frequently appeared on television, however, including “The Pallisers” (1974); a 1978 version of “The Mayor of Casterbridge”; a 1979 version of “Rebecca” in which she played Mrs. Danvers and ex-husband Jeremy Brett played Max de Winter; a 1983 adaptation of “Mansfied Park”; “The Return of the Psammead” in 1993; “Nice Day at the Office” in 1994; and “Agatha Christie’s Poirot” in 2009.
For U.S. television she appeared in a 1979 version of “The Corn Is Green,” starring Katharine Hepburn and directed by George Cukor; a 1985 version of “Anna Karenina” starring Jacqueline Bisset; a 1989 adaptation of “Around the World in 80 Days,” starring Pierce Brosnan, in which she played Queen Victoria; an episode of “The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles”; and a 2001 episode of “Nash Bridges.”
She most recently appeared onscreen in an episode of the series “Moving On” in November 2010.
In her 2006 autobiography, “Telling Some Tales,” Massey wrote of early difficulties after her father abandoned the family for the U.S.
Massey was married to first husband Brett, who later played Sherlock Holmes on British television, from 1958 to 1962. He died in 1995. Her brother, actor Daniel Massey, died in 1998.
She is survived by her second husband, Uri Andres, and their son, writer David Raymond Williams Huggins.