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article imageActress Susannah York dies at 72

By Lynn Curwin     Jan 16, 2011 in Entertainment
British film and stage actress Susannah York died on January 15, at the age of 72, after a battle with bone marrow cancer.
She was born Susannah Yolande Fletcher and when she was 13 she was expelled from school for swimming naked in the facility’s pool.
BBC News reported that she graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1958, winning the Ronson Award for most promising student.
York won a Bafta and received an Oscar nomination for her role in the 1969 film They Shoot Horses Don’t They. She won the award for Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival for her role in the 1972 film Images.
The Guardian reported that her most memorable performance was when she played a young lesbian in the film adaptation of the hit play The Killing of Sister George (1969). The movie’s extended lovemaking scene was so explicit that it was X-rated and banned in several locations.
She had roles in Tunes Of Glory (1960), Tom Jones (1963), A Man For All Seasons (1966), Battle Of Britain (1969), The Maids (1974) and Zee and Company (1972), as well as a television production of Jane Eyre (1970).
She married at the age of 18 and had a son and daughter, but divorced 16 years later, in 1976.
She played Superman’s mother in Superman (1978), Superman II (1980) and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987) and appeared in television series.
When work was scarce in the late 1980s she sold jewellery and paintings to pay her mortgage.
She revitalised her stage career and in 1996 and 1997 appeared in the Royal Shakespeare Company’s productions of Hamlet and The Merry Wives of Windsor. She then wrote, and toured with, a one-woman show called The Loves of Shakespeare’s Women, and directed several fringe theatre plays.
In 2009 she was starring at the New End Theatre in London.
"I remember back in 1961 when I was a young journalist, I interviewed her for a magazine for her film Greengage Summer, and I still remember how completely charmed I was,” The Telegraph quoted Sir Tom Stoppard, the playwright and screenwriter, as saying.
"She was so pleasant to me – she even let me interview her at home as long as I promised not to write that because journalists weren't normally allowed to go to her home. I still think of her with great affection."
She was involved with causes such as rainforests and nuclear disarmament, and spoke out on behalf of Mordechai Vanunu, who was jailed for confirming that Israel possessed nuclear weapons.
Her son Orlando Wells said she was a fantastic mother who was very down to earth and he and his sister Sasha felt very lucky to have her as a parent.
'She was a fantastic mother and the most extraordinary actress,” The Telegraph quoted him as saying. “She was a woman with grace and stature. She had advanced bone marrow cancer which she had an operation for. But, last Thursday, she had a scan and then the descent was fast. In the end, her death was painless and quick.''
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