Oscar Actors: Eggar, Samantha–Background, Career, Awards

Research in Progress (Jan 24, 2021)
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Victoria Louise Samantha Marie Elizabeth Therese Eggar was born March 5, 1939.

After beginning her career in Shakespearean theatre, she rose to fame for her performance in William Wyler’s thriller The Collector (1965), which earned her a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress.

She later appeared as Emma Fairfax in Doctor Dolittle (1967), and the American drama The Molly Maguires (1970).

In the early 1970s, Eggar relocated to the United States and Canada, where she later starred in several horror films, including The Dead Are Alive (1972), The Uncanny (1977), and David Cronenberg’s cult thriller The Brood (1979).

As a voice actress, she appeared as Hera in Walt Disney’s Hercules (1997). She then lent her voice to video games, including Gabriel Knight 3: Blood of the Sacred, Blood of the Damned and 007: Nightfire.

Her TV work includes roles on Fantasy Island, and a recurring part as Charlotte Devane in the soap opera All My Children in 2000.

Samantha Eggar was born Victoria Louise Samantha Marie Elizabeth Therese Eggar[2][3] on 5 March 1939[4] in Hampstead, London, to Ralph Alfred James (a brigadier in the British Army) and a mother (Muriel Olga Palache-Bouma) of Dutch and Portuguese descent.[5][6] Soon after her birth her family relocated to rural Bledlow, Buckinghamshire, during World War II, where she spent her childhood.[2]
Eggar was brought up as a Catholic and educated at St Mary’s Providence Convent in Woking, Surrey. Reflecting on her time in convent school, Eggar said: “The nuns didn’t have too much success with me – I’ve always had a violent temper. In fact, once I almost killed one of the nuns.”[3] At age 16, she began to go by the name Samantha.[2] Although Eggar expressed interest in acting at a young age, she was urged against a career in the theatre by her parents. She was offered a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, but instead studied fashion for two years at the Thanet School of Art.[3] After completing her studies, she enrolled at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

Talent Scout

Eggar began her acting career in her early 20s in Shakespearean companies, notably playing Titania in a 1962 production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, directed by Tony Richardson. She also appeared in a production of Douglas Seale’s “Landscape with Figures,” where she was noticed by a talent scout.

At the age of 23, she was cast in the biographical film Dr. Crippen (1962), opposite Donald Pleasence.

Her second film role was in 1962 in The Wild and the Willing; the same year, she appeared onstage as Olivia in a production of Twelfth Night by George Devine.

In 1965, Eggar appeared in the thriller The Collector, directed by William Wyler, playing a kidnap victim. She received a nomination for the Best Actress Oscar, and won a Golden Globe award for her performance. She was also awarded Best Actress at the 1966 Cannes Film Fest.

On her role as Miranda in The Collector, Eggar has said: “My biggest relationship on set was with William Wyler. The tension on set was real. And if the tension wasn’t there – if I didn’t exude precisely what he wanted – well, Willie just poured cold water over me.”[12]

Eggar starred in the comedy Walk, Don’t Run (1966) with Cary Grant (his last motion picture) and Jim Hutton, followed by a lead role as Emma Fairfax in Richard Fleischer’s musical adaptation of Doctor Dolittle (1967).

In 1963, she played the title character in “Marcia”, a second-season episode of The Saint. After her appearance in The Saint, Eggar did not appear in television for 10 years, instead focusing exclusively on feature films. These included The Molly Maguires (1970), in which she starred with Sean Connery, and The Light at the Edge of the World (1971), in which she starred with Kirk Douglas.

Although she co-starred with Yul Brynner in the TV series Anna and the King (1972), she did not make another television guest appearance until 1973, when she starred in the episode “The Cardboard House” of the romantic anthology series Love Story.

That same year, she played Phyllis Dietrichson in a TV remake of Double Indemnity.