Ingrid Pitt, possibly the best-known of the women of Hammer Horror, died on November 23, 2010. She was just days past her 73rd birthday.
I was fortunate to have met her a few years ago, and found her to be sweet, endearing and wonderful. We chatted for about ten minutes, and she signed a copy of her autobiography for me. I started reading it when I got home, and it was so engrossing I’d finished it by the next day.
Pitt, who was born in 1937, spent time in a Nazi concentration camp as a child, and later tried to escape Communist East Berlin by swimming across the river in the middle of the night, a risky move that nearly killed her. These and other adventures make up about the first half of her book, while the rest deals with her movie career and various love interests. Reading it, experiencing all of her hardships from the voyeuristic perspective a well-written biography offers, I was even more amazed that, through it all (and maybe despite it all), she remained a grounded, sincere, wonderful human being. I’d been looking forward to her visiting the states again so I could tell her how much her life story had touched me. Sadly, I’ll never get the chance.
Rest in peace, Ingrid. You’ve certainly earned it.