British leading lady and former child actress Susan George is probably best recognized for playing rape victim Amy Sumner in the Sam Peckinpah controversial film “Straw Dogs” (1971), opposite Dustin Hoffman. She also played Mary Coombs in her Hollywood debut “Dirty Mary Crazy Larry” (1974), Blanche Maxwell in “Mandingo” (1975) and earned a Saturn nomination for her starring role in the disappointing horror film “The House Where Evil Dwells” (1982). By the late 1980s, George had reduced her performance time and began a second career as a producer. She scored her first movie producing debut with “Stealing Heaven” (1988). During the 1990s, she left the motion picture industry although she sporadically took on television acting jobs. She appeared in the children's series “The Castle of Adventure” (1990) and the Yorkshire TV series “Stay Lucky” (1993). Her more recent TV role was that of Margaret Walker on the British famous soap “EastEnders” (2001, 11 episodes). George returned to feature films with a supporting role in the Gary Sinyor comedy “In Your Dreams” (2007). She followed it up with a role in the Asian movie “City of Life” (2009). In 1995, George ranked No. 95 on Empire magazine list of “100 Sexiest Stars in Film History.”
Currently married to British actor Simon MacCorkindale, George was involved with several men during the 1960s and 1970s. She dated Bennie Thomas from 1968 to 1973 and American tennis player Jimmy Connors in 1974. From 1974 to 1978, she was romantically involved with American pop and jazz singer Jack Jones, with whom she once recorded an album. She began dating British/Australian singer Andy Gibb (born in 1958, died in 1988) in the late 1970s. In the late 1970s, she also had several dates with Charles, the Prince of Wales, after she was invited to his 30th birthday party.
Childhood and Family:
Susan Melody George was born on July 26, 1950, in London, England, to entertainment parents. She began acting at a very young age. She was educated at the Holy Trinity Primary School in Maidenhead and Corona Stage Academy in London.
On October 5, 1984, Susan married Cambridge-born actor/producer Simon MacCorkindale (born on February 12, 1952). Susan and her husband operate a horse stud farm in Somerset, England, called “Georgian Arabians.” They also have a production company called Amy International, which is named after Susan's character in the 1971 film “Straw Dogs.”
The House Where Evil Dwells
Susan George began doing commercials and fashion shows at age 4. She made her stage debut in “Heartbeats in a Tin Box” at age 8 and joined a London production of “The Sound of Music” at age 12. During the same time, she made her television acting debut in an episode of the British comedy series “The Dickie Henderson Show.”
In 1963, George starred as Kitty Walker in a television series adaptation of “Swallows and Amazons,” opposite John Paul as Captain Flint. She went on to appear in episodes of “ITV Television Playhouse” (1963) and “The Human Jungle” before joining the cast of the soap opera “Weavers Green” (1966). In 1965, she portrayed young Vicky Davis in the British sport themed film “Cup Fever,” which was written and directed by David Bracknell. Two years later, she appeared in the British espionage film “Billion Dollar Brain,” adapted from the novel of the same title by Len Deighton. Directed by Ken Russell and starring Michael Caine as secret agent Harry Palmer, it was the third film in the Harry Palmer film series. Also in 1967, she portrayed Audrey Woods in the horror movie “The Sorcerers,” which was directed and co-written by Michael Reeves. Costars of the film included Boris Karloff, Catherine Lacey and Ian Ogilvy.
In 1968, George costarred with Michael York in the based on novel “The Strange Affair,” where she offered a notable turn as playful, free loving Frederika March. The same year, she also costarred with Victor Henry in “All Neat in Black Stockings,” which was directed by Christopher Morahan, and supported Dennis Waterman and Suzy Kendall in the big screen adaptation of “Up the Junction,” which was directed by Peter Collinson and scripted by Roger Smith. She returned to the small screen with guest spots in “Theatre 625,” “Mystery and Imagination,” where she played Lucy Weston in an episode called “Dracula,” and “The Root of All Evil” (also 1968). She closed out the decade portraying Susan in a film version of John le Carré's book “The Looking Glass War” (1969), which starred Christopher Jones, Ralph Richardson and Anthony Hopkins.
In 1970, George landed the title role in the controversial drama “Twinky” (known in the U.S. as “Lola”) that was directed by Richard Donner. In the movie, she played a sixteen year old school girl who marries a middle age writer of pornographic novels (played by Charles Bronson). She next played Hilda in “Spring and Port Wine” (1970), adapted by Bill Naughton from his play, teamed up with Mark Lester in director John Hough's thriller “Eyewitness” (1970), starred as a young babysitter named Amanda in the thriller “Fright” (1971, with Ian Bannen and Honor Blackman) and played the daughter of a corrupt judge, Marianne, in the low budget horror film “Die Screaming, Marianne” (1971).
However, George did not attract international attention until she won the role of Dustin Hoffman's young wife, Amy, in Sam Peckinpah's psychological thriller “Straw Dogs” (1971), which was based on Gordon Williams' novel “The Siege of Trencher's Farm.” The film was considered controversial upon its release primarily because of an extended rape scene. The movie was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Music, Original Dramatic Score and won the Best Director Award at the 1972 Kansas City Film Critics Circle Awards. It grossed over $11 million against its budget of $3 million.
In 1973, George made her American television debut as Anne in a musical version of “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” (NBC), which starred Kirk Douglass. The following year, she costarred in the movie “Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry” with Peter Fonda, Adam Roarke and Vic Morrow. She then portrayed Perry King's neglected wife, Blanche, in the film adaptation of “Mandingo” (1975), which enjoyed strong box office success despite earning mixed reviews from critics. The rest of the decade saw roles in “Out of Season” (1975), a British independent drama directed by Alan Bridges, “A Small Town in Texas” (1976, with Timothy Bottoms), “¡Tintorera!” (1977, starred as Gabriella) and “Tomorrow Never Comes” (1978, opposite Oliver Reed).
After guest starring in “Tales of the Unexpected,” George portrayed the wife of Alex Courtney in the martial arts film “Enter the Ninja” (1981, directed by Menahem Golan), supported Klaus Kinski, Oliver Reed, Nicol Williamson and Sarah Miles in the horror film “Venom” (1981), worked with Bruce Davison and Anthony Franciosa in the independent film “Kiss My Grits” (1982) and played Edward Albert's spouse, Laura, in the forgettable horror flick “The House Where Evil Dwells” (1982), from which she received a Saturn nomination for Best Actress for her performance. The same year, she played Lisa Korter in the NBC film “Computerside,” which was originally shot in 1977 under the title “The Final Eye.”
In 1983, George portrayed Penelope Kimberley in the British espionage film “The Jigsaw Man,” opposite Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier and Robert Powell. An adaptation of a novel by Dorothea Bennett, the film was directed by Terence Young and adapted to the screen by Jo Eisinger. In 1984, she starred as Yvonne Chavine in the Canadian TV film “Pajama Tops,” guest starred in the Kirstie Alley short lived series “Masquerade” and returned to the London stage in a revival of “The Country Girl.” The actress then played Vicky Duncan in an episode of the anthology series “Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense” called “Czech Mate” (1985), Barbara Fremont in ABC's “Hotel” episode “Hearts Divided” (1986) and Catherine 'Kate' Eddowes in the CBS miniseries “Jack the Ripper” (1988). She then costarred with Mickey Rooney in the Hollywood drama “Lightning, the White Stallion” (1986, directed by William A. Levey and written by Harry Alan Towers) before turning her attention to producing. “Stealing Heaven” (1988), the first film produced under Amy International, starred Derek de Lint, Kim Thomson and Denholm Elliott and was directed by Clive Donner. She had her next executive producer duty on the 1989 war film “That Summer of White Roses,” which was co-written by her husband Simon MacCorkindale. She also costarred in the film with Tom Conti and Rod Steiger.
George starred as Allie Mannering in the children's live action TV series “The Castle of Adventure” (1990), based on a popular kids' book by Enid Blyton. The same year, she also guest starred as Annette Morley in an episode of the action adventure series “Counterstrike,” which starred her husband and Christopher Plummer. In 1992, she joined the cast of the British drama series “Cluedo” as Mrs. Peacock during its third season and a year later, portrayed Samantha Mansfield in four episodes of the Yorkshire TV series “Stay Lucky.” She returned to producing in 1995 when she served as an executive producer on the based on novel TV film “The House That Mary Bought,” which was directed and co-scripted by her husband. She also starred in the mystery film as Mary Close, opposite Ben Cross as Malcolm Close.
In 2001, George briefly resumed her acting career when she was cast as Margaret Walker in the popular BBC soap opera “EastEnders,” created by Julia Smith and Tony Holland. She remained with the show for 11 episodes. After leaving the show, she did not take on another acting job until 2007 when she portrayed Barbara Wood-Ross in the British movie “In Your Dreams,” which was written and directed by Gary Sinyor. Costars of the film included Dexter Fletcher, Elize du Toit, Parminder Nagra and Linda Hamilton. In 2009, she costarred as Constance Bateman in the Asian film “City of Life,” directed by Ali F. Mostafa.
George is rumored to be playing Queen Emma in the upcoming film “1066,” which is scheduled to be released in the U.K. on November 15, 2010.