Ingoushka Petrov, known as Ingrid Pitt (21 November 1937 - 23 November 2010) was a Polish-British actress and sex symbol of the 70s.
She was born into a Jewish family in Warsaw, Poland. During World War II, she and her family were imprisoned in the Stuthoff concentration camp. She survived and later moved to California - where she shortened her first name to 'Ingrid' and started waiting tables in the hopes of becoming an actress. Her film debut was a small role in the epic Doctor Zhivago.
Ingrid found herself working a lot with Hammer Horror as the studio was undergoing its Hotter and Sexier transformation to attract red-blooded viewers. Her role as Lesbian Vampire Carmilla Karnstein in The Vampire Lovers turned her into a sex symbol and cult icon. She starred in several other horror films, notably Countess Dracula and she had a small part in The Wicker Man. She did plenty of non-horror work but understandably the horrors are more remembered - and she enjoyed great popularity at conventions in the 80s and 90s.
Outside of her acting work, Ingrid was also an accomplished writer. She wrote several books, and was even commissioned to write a Doctor Who episode that never got made - though it was eventually released as an audio drama in the 'Lost Stories' (the name of the story is The Macros for those who are curious). She also wrote for several magazines.
She died in 2010 from congestive heart failure, and her final role Ingrid Pitt: Beyond The Forest was released posthumously five months later - an animated Short Film based off her Holocaust experiences.
- Chimes at Midnight (1965) — Uncredited extra
- Doctor Zhivago (1965) — Uncredited extra
- A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966) — Courtesan
- Where Eagles Dare (1968) — Heidi
- The Vampire Lovers (1970) — Marcilla / Carmilla / Mircalla Karnstein
- Countess Dracula (1971) — Countess Elisabeth
- The House That Dripped Blood (1971) — Carla Lind
- The Wicker Man (1973) — Librarian
- Octopussy (1983) — Galley Mistress (voice)
- The Comedy of Errors (1983) — Courtesan
- Wild Geese II (1985) — Hooker
- Parker (1986) — Widow
- Hanna's War (1988) — Margit
- The Asylum (2000) — Isobella
- Minotaur (2006) — The Leper
- The Saint, episode "The Bunco Artists" (1963) — Poolside Sunbather
- Ironside, episode "The Fourteenth Runner" (1967)
- Jason King, episode "Nadine" (1972) — Nadine
- Doctor Who, serials:
Tropes associated with her work:
- Adam Westing: In The House That Dripped Blood she plays an actress who plays vampires and then turns out to be one for real.
- Awesome, Dear Boy: As soon as she heard about The Wicker Man she rang the director asking if there were any parts left. She took the small part of the librarian just to be in the film.
- Beauty Inversion: For Countess Dracula she went under old age make-up that gets increasingly more monstrous the more Elizabeth kills.
- Best Known for the Fanservice: Despite her accomplishments as a writer, she is best remembered for her sex symbol status.
- Chronically Killed Actor: Often played a villain who died horribly.
- Cool Old Lady: In her later years she enjoyed popularity at horror conventions and wrote humorous columns about her time in film.
- Corpsing: One scene in The Vampire Lovers where she drinks from Kate O'Mara was constantly interrupted by hysterical giggles from Ingrid - because her vampire teeth kept falling out and into Kate's cleavage.
- Disowned Adaptation: She referred to The Wicker Man (2006) as "the puerile attempt by Neil LaBute to muscle in on its fame."
- Dye Hard: Naturally brunette but was often a blonde.
- Fake Nationality: She was Polish but...
- Fan Community Nickname: The Pitt of Horror.
- I Was Quite a Looker: She joked about this in her later years."It's great meeting the fans. They say I'm more beautiful now than I was 25 years ago. All lies of course, but sweet. Where else is an old bag like me going to find strapping young men and women to whisper sweet nothings in her ear?"
- Lesbian Vampire: She played the most famous one of all - Carmilla Karnstein - in The Vampire Lovers.
- Ms. Fanservice: She wasn't shy about getting naked in film. One of her few scenes in The Wicker Man is Howie walking in on her masturbating in the bathtub.
- The Other Darrin: Lust for a Vampire was intended as a sequel to The Vampire Lovers but Ingrid turned down the chance to play Carmilla again. This time she is played by Yutte Stensgaard.
- Reality Subtext: Her role in the Made-for-TV Movie Unity was as a Jew who is denounced by one of Hitler's socialite friends - which was uncomfortably close to her real life experiences.
- Role Reprise: She narrated Cradle of Filth's album Cruelty And The Beast as Countess Elisabeth.
- Same Language Dub: Her voice is dubbed in Countess Dracula by Olive Gregg. Ironically the character is Eastern European (Hungarian to be precise) but dubbed to sound English. Ingrid was apparently furious at this and vowed never to speak to the director again.
- She Also Did: She wrote several books, both fiction and non-fiction, and was a columnist in later years.
- Silver Fox: In contrast to her character in Countess Dracula, she aged very well.
- Star-Making Role: The Vampire Lovers made her a cult icon.
- What Could Have Been: Kelly's Heroes was going to have a female role, but prior to filming, it was cut from the script. Ingrid, who was cast in the role (and had been in Where Eagles Dare with Clint Eastwood the prior year) revealed that she was virtually climbing on board the plane bound for Yugoslavia (where the film set was) when word came through that her part had been cut.
- Word of Saint Paul: Ingrid always felt that although Carmilla was a lesbian, she was also asexual.