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Susannah York (born 9 January 1939) is an Englishmarker film, stage and television actress.

Early life

York was born as Susannah Yolande Fletcher in Chelsea, Londonmarker in 1939, although she later shaved three years off, the daughter of businessman Simon William Peel Vickers Fletcher and his wife, Joan Nita Mary Bowrig.

She was raised in Scotlandmarker where she attended Marr College. She later studied in Londonmarker at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.



Her film career began in 1960, when she appeared in Tunes of Glory, co-starring with Alec Guinness and John Mills. In 1961 she played the leading role in The Greengage Summer, which co-starred Kenneth More and Danielle Darrieux. York played Sophie Western opposite Albert Finney in the Oscar winning Best Film Tom Jones (1963) and also appeared in A Man for All Seasons (1966), The Killing of Sister George (1968) and Battle of Britain (1969).

York was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969). She famously snubbed the Academy when, regarding her nomination, she declared it offended her to be nominated without being asked. She did attend the ceremony surprisingly but lost to Goldie Hawn for her role in Cactus Flower.

In 1972 she won the Best Actress award at the Cannes Film Festivalmarker for her role in Images. She played Superman's mother Lara on the doomed planet Krypton in Superman (1978) and its sequels, Superman II (1980) and Superman IV: The Quest for Peace (1987). York has made extensive appearances in British television series, including Prince Regent (1979), as Maria Fitzherbert, the clandestine wife of the future George IV, and We'll Meet Again (1982)

In 2003, York had a recurring role as hospital manager Helen Grant in the BBC1 television drama series Holby City. She reprised this role in two episodes of Holby City's sister series Casualty in May 2004.


In 1978, York appeared on stage at the New End Theater in London in The Singular Life of Albert Nobbs with Lucinda Childs, directed by French director Simone Benmussa.

The following year, she appeared in Paris, speaking French in a play by Henry James: Appearances, with Sami Frey. The play was again directed by Simone Benmussa.

In the 80's, again with Benmussa, York played in For no good Reason, an adaptation of George Moore's short story, with Susan Hampshire.

In 2007, she appeared in the UK tour of The Wings of the Dove, and continued performing her internationally well received solo show, The Loves of Shakespeare's Women. Also in 2007, she guest starred in the Doctor Who audio play Valhalla.

In 2008 she played the part of Nelly in an adaptation by April De Angelis of Wuthering Heights.

York, according to Italianmarker symphonic metal band Rhapsody of Fire website (previously known as Rhapsody), has been recruited for a narrated part on the band's next full-length album Triumph or Agony, which will also include Christopher Lee to return as the Wizard King.

Writing and personal appearances

Her writing career is less well-known. In the 1970s she wrote two children's fantasy novels, In Search of Unicorns (1973), revised (1984) which was excerpted in the film Images, and Lark's Castle (1976, revised 1986).

She was a guest, along with David Puttnam on the BBC Radio 4 documentary I Had The Misery Thursday, a tribute programme to film actor Montgomery Clift, which was aired in 1986, on the twentieth anniversary of Clift's death. York co-starred with him in Freud, John Huston's 1962 film biography of the psychoanalyst.

Personal life

In 1960, York married Michael Wells, with whom she has two children, Orlando and Sasha. They divorced in 1976. In the 1984 TV adaptation of A Christmas Carol, she played Mrs. Cratchit and both of her children co-starred as Cratchit offspring. Her son, Orlando Wells, starred in the Channel 4 teen drama, As If. Wells gave York her first grandchild, Rafferty, in 2007.

Politically, she is left-wing and has publicly supported Mordechai Vanunu, the Israelimarker dissident who revealed Israel's nuclear weapons programme. While performing The Loves of Shakespeare's Women at the Cameri Theatre in Tel Avivmarker in June 2007, York dedicated the performance to Vanunu, evoking both cheers and jeers from the audience.


Year Film Role Notes
1960 There Was a Crooked Man Ellen
Tunes of Glory Morag Sinclair
1961 The Greengage Summer Joss Grey
1962 Freud Cecily Koertner
1963 Tom Jones Sophie Western
1964 The 7th Dawn Candace Trumpey
Scene Nun, Take One The Actress
1965 Sands of the Kalahari Grace Munkton
Scruggs Susan
1966 The Fall of the House of Usher (TV) Madeleine Usher
Kaleidoscope Angel McGinnis
A Man for All Seasons Margaret More
1968 Sebastian Rebecca Howard
Duffy Segolene
The Killing of Sister George Alice 'Childie' McNaught
1969 Oh! What a Lovely War Eleanor
Battle of Britain Section Officer Maggie Harvey
Lock Up Your Daughters Hilaret
They Shoot Horses, Don't They? Alice Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1970 Jane Eyre Jane Eyre
Country Dance Hilary Dow
1971 Happy Birthday, Wanda June Penelope Ryan
1972 Zee and Co. Stella
Images Cathryn
1974 Gold Terry Steyner
The Maids Claire
1975 Conduct Unbecoming Mrs. Marjorie Scarlett
That Lucky Touch Julia Richardson
1976 Sky Riders Ellen Bracken
Eliza Fraser Eliza Fraser
1978 The Shout Rachel Fielding
The Silent Partner Julie Carver
Superman Lara
1979 "Prince Regent"(mini) TV Series Mrs. Fitzherbert
The Golden Gate Murders(TV) Sister Benecia
1980 Long Shot An Actress
The Awakening Jane Turner
Superman II Lara
Loophole Dinah Booker
Late Flowering Love  
Falling in Love Again Sue Lewis
1981 Second Chance (TV Series) Kate Hurst
1982 We'll Meet Again(TV Series) Helen Dereham
Alicja Queenie
1983 Yellowbeard Lady Churchill
Nelly's Version(TV) Narrator (voice)
1984 A Christmas Carol(TV) Mrs. Cratchit
1985 Star Quality (TV) Lorraine Barry
Prettykill Toni
1987 Superman IV: The Quest for Peace Lara (voice)
Mio min Mio Seamstress
Barbablú, Barbablú  
1988 A Summer Story Mrs. Narracombe
Just Ask for Diamond Lauren Bacardi
1989 Melancholia Catherine Lanham Franck
After the War(mini) TV Series Irene Jameson
Quattro piccole donne (TV)  
1990 The Man from the PVU(TV) Amy Wallace
En Håndfull tid Susanne Walker
1991 Devices and Desires(mini) TV Series Meg Dennison
Trainer TV Series Rachel Ware
1992 Illusions(TV) Dr. Sinclair
1993 Piccolo grande amore Queen Christina
1997 Loop Olivia
Dark Blue Perfume (TV) Liz
1998 So This Is Romance? Mike's Mum
2000 St. Patrick: The Irish Legend(TV) Concessa
Jean Jean
2002 The Book of Eve  
2003 Visitors Carolyn Perry
2004 Love Is a Survivor Present Day Roma
2006 The Gigolos Tessa
2007 Maude Maude
2008 Franklyn Margaret


  1. "Births". The Times (11 January 1939). "FLETCHER. - on Jan. 9, 1939, at 18, Walpole Street, S.W.3. to Joan, wife of Peel Fletcher - a daughter"
  2. "The fifty-year war for a lost empire: Simon Fletcher has devoted his life to proving the establishment conspired to destroy his steel business" The Independent (27 December 1992).
  3. "PASSED/FAILED: Susannah York" The Independent (9 January 1997).
  4. Biography @ Yahoo! Movies
  5. "My perfect weekend: Susannah York" The Telegraph (27 September 2008).
  6. "Hijacking Shakespeare" Jerusalem Post (10 June 2007).

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