Kate O'Mara facts for kids
Quick facts for kids
Portrait © Trevor Leighton / National Portrait Gallery, 1988
Francesca Meredith Carroll
10 August 1939
|Died||30 March 2014
Sussex, England, UK
|Relatives||Belinda Carroll (sister)|
Kate O'Mara (born Francesca Meredith Carroll; 10 August 1939 – 30 March 2014) was an English film, stage and television actress, and writer. O'Mara made her stage debut in a 1963 production of The Merchant of Venice. Her other stage roles included Elvira in Blithe Spirit (1974), Lady Macbeth in Macbeth (1982), Cleopatra in Antony & Cleopatra (1982), Goneril in King Lear (1987) and Marlene Dietrich in Lunch with Marlene (2008).
In the cinema, O'Mara acted in two 1970 Hammer Horror films: The Vampire Lovers and The Horror of Frankenstein. On BBC television, she had regular roles in The Brothers (1975–1976), Triangle (1981–1982) and Howards' Way (1989–1990), and portrayed Doctor Who villain the Rani three times (1985–1993). She also appeared as Jackie Stone in two episodes of the sitcom Absolutely Fabulous (1995–2003). On American television, she played Caress Morell, the scheming sister of Alexis Colby in the primetime soap opera Dynasty (1986).
Early life and career
O'Mara was born to John F. Carroll, an RAF flying instructor, and actress Hazel Bainbridge (born Edith Marion Bainbridge; 25 January 1910 – 7 January 1998). Her younger sister is actress Belinda Carroll. After boarding school she attended art school before becoming a full-time actress. O'Mara made her stage debut in a production of The Merchant of Venice in 1963, although her first film role was some years earlier (under the name Merrie Carroll) in Home and Away (1956) with Jack Warner, as her father, and Kathleen Harrison.
Her earliest television appearances, in the 1960s, included guest roles in Danger Man, Adam Adamant Lives!, The Saint, Z-Cars and The Avengers. In 1970, she appeared in two Hammer Studio horror films: The Vampire Lovers and The Horror of Frankenstein. O'Mara's work in The Vampire Lovers impressed Hammer enough for them to offer her a contract, which she turned down, fearful of being typecast.
Her first major TV role was as Julia Main, wife of the main protagonist in the ITV series The Main Chance (1969). She had a regular role in the BBC drama series The Brothers (1975–1976) as Jane Maxwell, and in the early 1980s, O'Mara starred in the BBC soap opera Triangle (1981–1982), sometimes counted among the worst television series ever made. She played the villainous Rani in Doctor Who in two serials, The Mark of the Rani (1985) and Time and the Rani (1987), and also in the Doctor Who 30th anniversary spoof Dimensions in Time (1993), part of the Children in Need charity event.
Between these appearances in Doctor Who, she auditioned for a leading role as one of the sisters on the American primetime soap The Colbys, a spin-off of the American prime time soap opera Dynasty. Eventually, O'Mara was offered one of the roles alongside Stephanie Beacham, but declined since was still under contract with a production of stage play Light Up the Sky at the Old Vic Theatre. Shortly after, she was offered the part of Caress Morell on Dynasty. As the sister of Alexis Colby (Joan Collins), O'Mara appeared in 17 episodes of the sixth season and 4 episodes of the seventh during 1986. O'Mara disliked living in California, preferring the change of seasons in Britain, and to her relief was released from her five-year contract after Collins told the producers that having two brunettes in the series was a bad idea. After returning to the UK, she was cast as another scheming villain, Laura Wilde, in the BBC soap Howards' Way (1989–1990).
Later life and career
O'Mara continued to make television appearances throughout the 1990s, including Cluedo (1990), and playing Jackie Stone (Patsy's older sister) in two episodes of Absolutely Fabulous (1995–2003). In 2001, she had a recurring role in the ITV prison drama series Bad Girls before appearing in the short-lived revival of the soap opera Crossroads. She continued to perform on stage and in March 2008 she played Marlene Dietrich in a stage play entitled Lunch with Marlene. From August to November 2008, she played Mrs Cheveley in Oscar Wilde's stage play An Ideal Husband directed by Peter Hall and produced by Bill Kenwright. She performed in radio and audio plays. In 2000 she reprised her role as the Rani in the BBV audio play The Rani Reaps the Whirlwind, and in 2006 she made a guest appearance in the radio comedy series Nebulous.
In 2012, O'Mara appeared in a theatre adaptation of Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile.
O'Mara was married twice, first to Jeremy Young in 1971; the couple divorced in 1976. In 1993, she married Richard Willis, but the marriage was dissolved in 1996. She had two sons, Dickon Young (1964–2012) and Christopher Linde (born 1965), both from previous relationships, although Dickon took his stepfather's surname. She gave up Linde for adoption and he was named by his adoptive parents, Derek and Joy Linde.
Christopher, from whom the actress was long estranged, was born from her relationship with actor David Orchard.
Dickon, whose biological father was reportedly actor Ian Cullen, was a stage manager for the Royal Shakespeare Company before setting up his own company building tree-houses in the mid-1990s.
O'Mara wrote four books, two novels (When She Was Bad (ISBN: 0261667157) and Good Time Girl (ISBN: 0002242915)), and two autobiographical books, Vamp Until Ready (ISBN: 1861057008) and Game Plan: A Woman's Survival Kit (ISBN: 0283060573).
Speaking about her bouts of depression, later in her life, O'Mara said: "... 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 ... 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."
O'Mara died on 30 March 2014 in a Sussex nursing home, aged 74, from ovarian cancer. She left a £350,000 estate, bequeathing £10,000 to the Actors’ Benevolent Fund and, after the funeral and legal fees, the remainder to her younger sister Belinda Carroll, a former actress.
|1956||Home and Away||Annie Knowles||As Merrie Carroll|
|1962||Captain Clegg||Girl at Inn||Uncredited|
|1967||Welcome to Japan, Mr. Bond||Miss Moneypenny's assistant||Uncredited|
|Great Catherine||Varinka||Gordon Flemyng film|
|The Limbo Line||Irina Tovskia|
|1969||The Desperados||Adah||Henry Levin film|
|1970||The Vampire Lovers||The Governess (Mme. Perrodot)||Roy Ward Baker film|
|Cannon for Cordoba||Ruby|
|The Horror of Frankenstein||Alys||Jimmy Sangster film|
|1974||The Tamarind Seed||Anna Skriabina||Blake Edwards film|
|Feelings||Barbara Martin||Gerry O'Hara film|
|1978||An Unknown Friend||Karen Lindén|
|1992||Aladdin||Madam Roly Poly||Voice|
|Beauty and the Beast||Lucinda||Voice|
|1999||The Road to Ithaca||Despina|
|No Hiding Place||Jacqueline||2 episodes|
|1965||Danger Man||Annette||Episode: A Room in the Basement|
|1965||Gaslight Theatre||Patience||Episode: The Drunkard or, the Sins of the Parents Shall Be Visited...|
|1965||Hereward the Wake||Richilda||Episode: The Court of Love|
|1966||Court Martial||Episode: Logistics of Survival|
|1966||Weavers Green||Mick Armstrong|
|1967||Adam Adamant Lives!||Sonia Fawzi||Episode: The Basardi Affair|
|1967||The Troubleshooters||Kim Hart||Episode: Mr. Know-How|
|The Saint||Annabelle / Nadine / Yvette||Episodes: Double Take, Counterfeit Countess, Fast Women|
|Z-Cars||Kate / Mae Astell||4 episodes|
|1968||The Champions||Jane Purcell||Episode: To Catch a Rat|
|1969||The Avengers||Lisa||Episode: Stay Tuned|
|1969||The Main Chance||Julia Main||4 episodes|
|1969||Department S||Pietra||Episode: Who Plays the Dummy|
|1970||Never a Cross Word||Ellie||Episode: When is a Spy...|
|1970||Codename||Helen Lingard||Episode: Opening Gambit|
|1970||Paul Temple||Luciana Benedetti||Episode: Re-take|
|1970||The Adventures of Don Quick||Peleen||Episode: People isn't Everything|
|1972||A Man About a Dog||Storm Riordan|
|1972||ITV Sunday Night Theatre||Storm Riordan|
|1972||The Persuaders!||Heidi Schulman||Episode: Read and Destroy|
|1972||Jason King||Delphi||Episode: A Kiss for a Beautiful Killer|
|1972||Clouds of Witness||Cynthia Tarrant||Episode 1.3|
|1972||Pathfinders||Section Officer Anne Denby||Episode: Fog|
|1973||Spy Trap||Sharon Lunghi||3 episodes|
|1974||The Protectors||Sarah Trent||Episode: A Pocketful of Posies|
|The Brothers||Jane Maxwell||30 episodes|
|1976||Morecambe & Wise||Kate O'Mata Hari||Christmas Special|
|1976||The Two Ronnies||The Gypsy Queen|
|1977||The Two Ronnies||Lucy Lee||Series 6 Episodes 3–6: Stop! You're Killing Me mini-serial|
|1978||Return of the Saint||Jeanette||Episode: Assault Force|
|1979||The Plank||'It's Paint' Woman|
|Triangle||Katherine Laker||27 episodes|
|Doctor Who||The Rani||6 episodes (2 Stories)|
|1986||Dempsey and Makepeace||Joyce Hargreaves||Episode: Guardian Angels|
|1986||Dynasty||Cassandra "Caress" Morell||Recurring (Seasons 6–7)|
|Howards' Way||Laura Wilde||26 episodes|
|1990||Cluedo||Mrs. Peacock||Episode: Christmas Past, Christmas Present|
|1992||Aladdin (Not Disney)||Madam Roly Poly (voice)||Ron Clements and John Musker film|
|1993||Comic Relief: The Invasion of the Comic Tomatoes||Female Patient|
|1993||Doctor Who: Dimensions in Time||The Rani||Guest appearance|
|Absolutely Fabulous||Jackie Stone||2 episodes|
|1997||The New Adventures of Robin Hood||Lady Isabelle||Episode: Marion to the Rescue|
|2001||Bad Girls||Virginia O'Kane||4 episodes|
|2003||Crossroads||Lady Alice Fox||Soap opera|
|2005||Family Affairs||Jackie Lawrence||Soap opera|
|2008||Doctors||Rosetta Froom||Episode: Fears, Feats & the Frooms|
|2012||Benidorm||Barbara Simmonds||1 episode, (final appearance)|
Select stage roles
- 1963, Jessica, The Merchant of Venice at the Shaftesbury Theatre.
- 1966, Lydia Languish, The Rivals at The Welsh Theatre Co.
- 1967, Elsa, The Italian Girl at the Wyndham's Theatre
- 1970, Fleda Vetch, The Spoils of Poynton at the Mayfair Theatre
- 1971, Gerda Von Metz, The Avengers (directed by Leslie Phillips) at the Prince of Wales Theatre
- 1971–2, Sheila Wallis, Suddenly at Home at the Fortune Theatre
- 1974, Elvira, Blithe Spirit at the Bristol Old Vic
- 1974, Liza Moriarty, Sherlock's Last Case at the Open Space Theatre Fortune Theatre
- 1977, Sybil Merton, Lord Arthur Saville's Crime at the Sadlers Wells Theatre
- 1977, Louka, Arms and the Man at the Hong Kong Festival
- 1978, Rosaline, Loves Labour's Lost at the Thorndike Theatre
- 1978, Katherina, The Taming of the Shrew at the Ludlow Festival
- 1978, Cyrenne, Rattle of a Simple Man
- 1979, Monica Claverton- Ferry, The Elder Statesman
- 1979, Lina, Misalliance at The Birmingham Rep
- 1979, Irene St Clair, The Crucifer of Blood at the Haymarket Theatre
- 1980, Ruth, Night and Day, at post-London tour
- 1981, Stephanie Abrahams, Duet for One Yugoslavia and tour
- 1981, Beatrice, Much Ado About Nothing at the New Shakespeare Co
- 1982, Kathrina, The Taming of the Shrew at the Nottingham Playhouse\New Shakespeare Co
- 1982, Titania\Hippolta, A Midsummer Night's Dream at the New Shakespeare Co
- 1982, Lady Macbeth, Macbeth at the Mercury Theatre
- 1982, Cleopatra, Antony and Cleopatra at the Nottingham Playhouse
- 1982, Millamant, The Way of the World at the Nottingham Playhouse
- 1983, Hortense, The Rehearsal
- 1984, Mistress Ford, The Merry Wives of Windsor at the New Shakespeare Co
- 1985 – 1987, Frances Black, Light Up the Sky at the Old Vic & Globe Theatres
- 1987, Goneril, King Lear at the Compass Theatre
- 1988, Berinthia, The Relapse at the Mermaid Theatre
- 1990, Torfreida, The Last Englishman at The Orange Tree Theatre
- 1990, Martha, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre
- 1991, Lilli Vanessi, Kiss Me Kate, RSC tour
- 1992, Lady Fanciful, The Provok'd Wife at the National Theatre Studio
- 1992, Rosabel, Venus Observed at the Chichester Festival
- 1992, Eve, Cain at the Chichester Festival
- 1992, Jackie, King Lear in New York at the Chichester Festival
- 1994, Maria Wislack, On Approval
- 1995, Pola, The Simpleton of the Unexpected Isles at The Orange Tree Theatre
- 1995, Rachel, My Cousin Rachel, English Theatre, Vienna and tour 1995
- 1996, Olivia, Twelfth Night at the Haymarket Theatre, Basingstoke
- 1996–7, Mrs Cheveley, An Ideal Husband at the Haymarket, Albury and Gielgud theatres
- 2000, Mrs. Malaprop\Lucy, The Rivals
- 2000, Madame Alexandre, Colombe at the Salisbury Playhouse
- 2003, Gertrude Lawrence, Noel and Gertie
- 2004, Mrs Arbuthnot, A Woman of No Importance
- 2005, Eloise, The Marquise at the Mercury Theatre
- 2005, Helen, We Happy Few at the Gielgud Theatre
- 2008, Marlene Dietrich, Lunch with Marlene at The New End Theatre
- 2010, Lady Windermere, Lord Arthur Saville's Crime at the Mercury Theatre
In Spanish: Kate O'Mara para niños
Kate O'Mara Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.