Obituary: Saluting Susannah York

Academy Award-nominated actress Susannah York died on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2011, in London at the age of 72. The cause of death was reportedly cancer.

Along with her contemporaries Vanessa Redgrave, Julie Christie and Maggie Smith, Susannah York was one of the most well-known postwar British actresses of her generation, appearing in dozens of films throughout the 1960s and 1970s.

A delicate-looking, blue-eyed, blonde-haired beauty, Ms. York was frequently referred to as “an English rose” during at the height of her popularity during the “Cool Britannia” cultural wave of the 1960s.

Recent years saw Ms. York primarily working in smaller British movies and TV shows, most of which we haven’t seen here at Disc Dish. But we sure can remember the lady’s earlier film work, where her talent and beauty never failed to sparkle.

Here are seven of our favorite movies featuring Susannah York:

Tom Jones, 1963

Tom Jones (1963)
In her breakthrough film, Ms. York portrayed the gentle but passionate Sophie Western opposite Albert Finney in the Oscar-winning Tony Richardson-directed classic.
Available on DVD from MGM/20th Century Fox Home Entertainment

Kaleidoscope (1966)
The Swinging Sixties live in this romantic comedy starring sexy Susannah and Warren Beatty as a rambling, gambling pair of lovers making their across London and the continent.
Available on DVD from Warner Archive Collection

The Killing of Sister George, 1968

The Killing of Sister George (1968)
Radical for its time, the Robert Aldrich-helmed adaptation of Frank Marcus’s play about a lesbian triangle contained asex scene involving Ms. York that was deemed so explicit in its day that it initially received an ‘X’ rating from the MPAA.
Available on DVD from MGM/Fox

They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969)
Ms. York received a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for her role of Alice, a Depression-era wannabe actress participating in a grueling dance marathon.
Available on DVD from MGM/Fox

Superman, 1978

Images (1973)
Ms. York is outstanding as a housewife combating the horrors of schizophrenia in Robert Altman’s hallucinatory fantasy/drama hybrid.
Available on DVD from MGM/Fox

The Silent Partner (1978)
Ms. York adds a touch of class as bank teller Elliott Gould’s favorite gal pal in this nifty little thriller about a bank heist and its ensuing double- and triple-crosses.
Available on DVD from Lionsgate

Superman (1978)
Brando may have been Jor-El, the Man of Steel’s daddy, but back in ’78, this teenager was keeping eye on the lovely Ms. York, who played Superman’s Kryptonian mom, Lara.
Available on DVD and Blu-ray from Warner Home Video

About Laurence

Founder and editor Laurence Lerman saw Alfred Hitchcock’s North by Northwest when he was 13 years old and that’s all it took. He has been writing about film and video for more than a quarter of a century for magazines, anthologies, websites and most recently, Video Business magazine, where he served as the Reviews Editor for 15 years.