Susannah York 1939-2011
I reserve a special honor for only my favorite actors — naming my pets after them. Back in 1975 when my cat Glenda Jackson got knocked up, she had four kittens. I named them Maggie Smith, Donald Sutherland, Burt Reynolds and Susannah York.
Ms. York, who passed away over the weekend at the age of 72, never became a major movie star mostly because she didn’t want to be a movie star. She was determined to make movies that were interesting and/or offbeat and that is not the career path to major stardom.
Because of her independent spirit, she was one of my favorites from the 1960s and ’70s. Most casual fans from that era might remember her from her role as the ingénue Sophie in Tom Jones (1963) and her Oscar nominated performance as a marathon dancer who goes bonkers in the They Shoot Horses Don’t They? (1969). They also might recall that she was Superman’s biological mother opposite Marlon Brando in Superman (1978) and Superman II (1980).
I loved her for several of her bolder choices including Robert Altman’s mind-bending drama Images (1972) and The Killing of Sister George (1968).
One of my favorite Susannah York films is a small little Canadian thriller with comedic overtones, The Silent Partner (1979). Elliott Gould stars as a bank teller who figures out that the bank is going to be robbed and takes most of the money for himself. York plays a co-worker who likes Gould but can’t figure him out. John Candy has a small role and Christopher Plummer plays the extremely scary robber.
I also loved a TV movie, The Golden Gate Murders (1979) in which she played a nun who falls in love with a detective played by David Janssen.
In the 1980s and beyond she mostly stayed in England and did plays and a ton of British television.
I’ll miss you Susannah.
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