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Adrienne Corri
Corri in Vampire Circus (1972)
Adrienne Riccoboni

(1931-11-13)13 November 1931
Glasgow, Lanarkshire, Scotland
Died 13 March 2016(2016-03-13) (aged 84)
London, England
Occupation Actress
Years active 1949–1992
Daniel Massey
(m. 1961; div. 1967)
Children 2

Adrienne Corri (born Adrienne Riccoboni; 13 November 1931 – 13 March 2016) was a Scottish actress.

Early life

She was born Adrienne Riccoboni in Glasgow in November 1931, the daughter of an English mother (Olive Smethurst) and an Italian father (Luigi Riccoboni; sometimes spelt Reccobini). In the 1930s, her father Luigi (known as Louis) ran the Crown Hotel in Callander, Stirling. She had one brother.


Corri may be best known for one of her smaller parts, that of Mary Alexander, wife of the writer Frank Alexander (played by Patrick Magee), in Stanley Kubrick's dystopian A Clockwork Orange (1971). Corri, not originally cast in the film, was offered the role after two actresses had already withdrawn from the production.

Corri earned Kubrick's respect by her willingness to undergo the gruelling process of shooting endless takes.

Corri's film debut was in The Romantic Age (1949), which was followed by Jean Renoir's version of The River (1951). Her other film roles included Lara's mother in David Lean's Dr. Zhivago and Dorothy in Otto Preminger's thriller Bunny Lake Is Missing (both 1965). She also appeared in a number of horror and suspense films until the 1970s including Devil Girl from Mars (1954), The Tell-Tale Heart (1960), A Study in Terror (1965) and Vampire Circus (1972). She also appeared as Therese Duval in Revenge of the Pink Panther (1978).

She appeared in such diverse productions as the science fiction movie Moon Zero Two (1969) and a television version of Twelfth Night (1970), directed by John Sichel, as the Countess Olivia, where she played opposite Sir Alec Guinness as Malvolio.

Her other television credits include Angelica in Sword of Freedom (1958), Yolanda in The Invisible Man episode "Crisis in the Desert" (1958), regular roles in A Family at War and You're Only Young Twice (both 1971 – the latter a television series created by Jack Trevor Story), Mena in the Doctor Who story "The Leisure Hive" (1980), and Veronica in Love in a Cold Climate (1980). She guest-starred as the mariticidal Liz Newton in the UFO episode "The Square Triangle" (1970) and was in two episodes of Danger Man (US: Secret Agent, both 1965). She was equally at home in the classics of British theatre, giving an outstanding performance as Lady Fidget in a BBC Play of the Month, William Wycherley's Restoration comedy The Country Wife (1977), with Helen Mirren.

Corri had a major stage career, appearing regularly both in London and in the provincial theatres. She appeared in one of the first English performances in 1968 of Come and Go, Samuel Beckett's one-act "dramaticule", in Beckett's coinage, performed at the Royal Festival Hall as part of "a gala entertainment concerning depravity and corruption", sponsored by the National Council for Civil Liberties and the Defence of Literature and the Arts Society. It was directed by Deryk Mendel, with Corri appearing alongside Marie Kean and Billie Whitelaw in the roles of Flo, Vi, and Ru. The evening included both classical and rock music, and a mixed programme compèred by George Melly. In his entry for Clifford Anthony Smythe in the online Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, John Calder records that "The profit was much less than expected for a sold-out house, as the person who had volunteered to organise the souvenir programme spent too little time finding advertisers as against providing editorial content."

Personal life

Corri was acquainted with many of the leading figures in the British theatre, including Joe Orton. She enjoyed a good relationship with Stanley Kubrick.

She had two children, Patrick and Sarah Filmer-Sankey, from a relationship with the film producer Patrick Filmer-Sankey in the 1950s.

Corri died at her home in London on 13 March 2016 from coronary artery disease, at the age of 84.

Gainsborough studies

She was the author of The Search for Gainsborough, a book written in diary form, detailing her efforts to establish the provenance of a painting of David Garrick which she believed to be by a young Thomas Gainsborough. She also wrote a scholarly article in The Burlington Magazine about the portrait and its connection to Gainsborough's very early work Self Portrait as a Boy, c. 1739 (the latter can be seen online at the Historical Portraits Image Library).

Corri's research and her article are discussed in "Tom will be a genius – new landscapes by the young Thomas Gainsborough", the catalogue of an exhibition at Philip Mould Ltd, 4–28 July 2009, with text by Lindsay Stainton and Bendor Grosvenor. Corri's claim that the painting was by the young Gainsborough was based on her detailed research into the archives of the Bank of England, which indicated that significant financial payments were made to Gainsborough while he was still a boy. Following a claim by Corri for the expense incurred restoring and authenticating the picture, the painting was given to her in May 1990, in an out-of-court settlement with the Alexandra Theatre in Birmingham, which disputed her valuation and the attribution to Gainsborough.


Corri was married to actor Daniel Massey from 1961 until they divorced in 1967. Massey envisaged a domestic life for Corri but she realised that she was not suited to being a full-time housewife, and after a six-year hiatus she resumed her career as an actress.


Year Title Role Notes
1949 The Romantic Age Norah
1951 The River Valerie
Quo Vadis Young Christian Girl uncredited
1953 The Kidnappers Kirsty US: The Little Kidnappers
1954 Devil Girl from Mars Doris
Meet Mr. Callaghan Mayola Verville
Lease of Life Susan Thorne
Make Me an Offer Nicky
1956 The Anatomist Mary Paterson British TV movie, released theatrically in U.S. in 1961
The Feminine Touch Maureen
Behind the Headlines Pam Barnes
The Shield of Faith
Three Men in a Boat Clara Willis
1957 Second Fiddle Deborah
The Big Chance Diana Maxwell
The Surgeon's Knife Laura Shelton
1958 Corridors of Blood Rachel
1959 The Rough and the Smooth Jane Buller
1960 The Tell-Tale Heart Betty Clare
The Hellfire Club Lady Isobel
1961 Dynamite Jack Pegeen O'Brien
1963 Lancelot and Guinevere Lady Vivian
1964 The Ubiquitous Mr Lovegrove Elaine Danger Man TV series episode
1965 Bunny Lake Is Missing Dorothy
A Study in Terror Angela
Doctor Zhivago Amelia
1967 The Viking Queen Beatrice
Africa: Texas Style Fay Carter
Woman Times Seven Mme. Lisiere Segment: At the Opera
1968 Journey into Darkness Terry Lawrence Segment: The New People
1969 The File of the Golden Goose Angela Richmond
Moon Zero Two Liz
Cry Wolf Mrs. Quinn – woman in tobacconist's shop
1970 Twelfth Night Olivia
1971 A Clockwork Orange Mrs. Alexander
1972 Vampire Circus Gypsy Woman
1974 Madhouse Faye Carstairs Flay
The Three Musketeers Milady Voice
1975 Rosebud Lady Carter
1978 Revenge of the Pink Panther Therese Douvier
1979 The Human Factor Sylvia

See also

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