Horror Icon Ingrid Pitt Dead
Actress survived Nazis to become 'first lady of horror'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 24, 2010 8:14 AM CST

(Newser) – One of the most seductive vampires in movie history has died. Ingrid Pitt, best-known for starring in Hammer horror films of the '70s like Countess Dracula and The Vampire Lovers, passed away in London at the age of 73. The Polish-born star spent years in a Nazi concentration camp as a child. She survived the war but was forced to flee East Berlin the night of her planned stage debut. She dove into the River Spree and was saved by an American GI whom she later married.

Fans called her the "first lady of horror" and she relished the title, always preferring to be cast as predators instead of innocent victims. "She was partly responsible for ushering in a bold and brazen era of sexually explicit horror films in the 1970s, but that should not denigrate her abilities," film historian Marcus Hearn tells the Guardian.