‘Scream Queen’ Hazel Court dies

Star of popular horror films from '50s, '60s

Hazel Court, an English beauty who co-starred with the likes of Boris Karloff and Vincent Price in “The Raven” and other popular horror movies of the 1950s and ’60s, died April 15 near Lake Tahoe, Calif. from a heart attack. She was 82.

While she had a substantial acting career both in England and on American TV, Court was perhaps best known for her work in such films as 1963’s “The Raven.” She co-starred with Price, Karloff, and Peter Lorre in a Roger Corman take on the classic Edgar Allen Poe poem.

Corman directed her in five movies. Like other “scream queens” of the era, Court’s roles often relied on her cleavage and her ability to shriek in fear and die horrible deaths.

“The Premature Burial,” “The Masque of the Red Death,” “The Curse of Frankenstein” and “Devil Girl from Mars” helped propel her to cult status and brought her fan mail even in her later years.

Court had finished an autobiography, “Hazel Court — Horror Queen,” which will be published in Britain.

The daughter of a professional cricket player, Court was born in the English town of Sutton Coldfield. As a teenager, she was appearing in stage productions when she was spotted and signed by the J. Arthur Rank Organization, which owned movie studios and theaters.

She got her first movie bit part by the time she was 18 and went on to become a popular actress and a pinup girl.

She appeared in some of the low-budget Hammer horror movies and co-starred with Patrick O’Neal in the 1957 British TV comedy series “Dick and the Duchess.” In the late 1950s, she came to the United States to work on the TV show “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.”

Court is survived by two daughters, a son and two step-daughters.

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