Actress Susannah York dies at 72

Susannah York Susannah York won a Bafta and was nominated for a Golden Globe and an Oscar

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British actress Susannah York has died at the age of 72 after suffering from cancer, her son has said.

She appeared in film, TV and theatre during a career which began in the 1960s.

She was nominated for a best supporting actress Oscar for her role in the 1969 film They Shoot Horses, Don't They? and won a Bafta for the same role.

Her son Orlando Wells told the Telegraph newspaper that she was "an absolutely fantastic mother".

"She loved nothing more than cooking a good Sunday roast and sitting around a fire of a winter's evening. In some sense, she was quite a home girl. Both Sasha [Orlando's sister] and I feel incredibly lucky to have her as a mother.''

MP and former actress Glenda Jackson, who starred with York in the 1974 production of The Maids, paid tribute, saying her death "came as a big shock".

"She seemed too young to go," she added. "We worked very well together.

"It was a very interesting production and she was very easy to work with."

British film director Richard Bracewell, who worked with York in his first film, The Gigolos, in 2006, described her as "a pussycat".

"She was an absolute pleasure, a joy to work with, to prepare the film with," he said.

"But then, like a cat, the moment the camera was on her, the moment the film was turning, she leapt into life and she absolutely grabbed the screen, absolutely electrifying the moment the camera was turning over."

Holby and Casualty

York graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1958, winning the Ronson Award for most promising student.

Directed by Sydney Pollack, They Shoot Horses, Don't They? followed the contestants in a gruelling dance marathon and also starred Jane Fonda.

Susannah York received an Oscar nomination for her role in the 1969 film They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

York was apparently angry at having been nominated for the Oscar without being asked, but did attend the ceremony.

She was also nominated for a Golden Globe for her role as Alice.

News editor at Empire Magazine, Chris Hewitt, said she "came to fame" in Tom Jones, opposite Albert Finney, in 1963, and was "amazing" in The Killing of Sister George in 1968.

More recently, she appeared in the BBC dramas Holby City and Casualty.

In later years she also featured as Superman's mother in three Superman movies, and wrote two children's books.

"She was a very versatile actress, she liked to switch roles, and never do the same thing twice," Hewitt said.

Outside her professional work, she was a supporter of the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, and Mordechai Vanunu, the technician imprisoned for 18 years for revealing Israel's secret nuclear programme.

BBC News website readers have been sending their memories of Susannah York:

When I was a kid (street urchin) in the 60s she used to live in the same street as me (Seaton Street, Chelsea, now demolished) and on Saturdays I would wash her car, a little Fiat. She would say to me "there are some sweets in the glove compartment" and after I had completed the job (badly) she gave me a fiver, that was a lot of money for a 10-year-old in the 60s, and she was a film star at the time. Lovely lady.

Thomas Casey, London, UK

I had the pleasure of interviewing Susannah York for local radio 96fm many years ago. She was an absolute lady and one of the most gracious guests I have ever met.

Elmarie Tallon, Cork, Ireland

During the making of the Film Gold in the 1970's I worked for Hemdale Film Distributors in London. Susannah York and Roger Moore would phone our Publicity Department from Pinewood Studios. Susannah always had time for people. An absolutely splendid actress. Sadly missed.

Sally White, Kyle Of Lochalsh, UK

I was so very fortunate to be in The Women with Susannah at The Old Vic. The first time I saw her backstage I realised what star quality was. She glowed. On stage and off, she shone like pure gold.

Calvin Dean, London, UK

I was at school with Susie (Fletcher then) at Wispers School Midhurst Sussex. Remember fondly great giggling together, parents day meeting her mum etc. also seeing her at RADA (my cousin Ken Campbell was a year behind her). Seeing her in a few early stage appearances. Also remember her taking the lead in school play before we knew she would be so famous! So sad to read of her death - when I'm in the UK I see a couple of "old" Wisperians and we often talk about Susie, she will continue to be in our minds for years to come.

Christine Cornfoot/Van Sickle, Erie, Colorado, USA

I was at school in Bedford when a lot of the Battle of Britain dog fight shots were filmed above our school playing fields. I was also in the ATC, (Air Training Corps). Us air cadets were given a free viewing of the film and I fell in love with this wonderful lady. The first time I'd realised that a young boy was close to becoming a man. Have loved her ever since. It's a sad loss.

Malcolm Woolf, Corby, UK

I met Susannah out dog walking on Clapham Common. She always asked how my fledgling acting career was going and remembered the details of what I had told her with care and interest. Whatever role she was playing she relished and respected and never took her career for granted. A lovely lady. She was so proud of her children and loved her beautiful dog, Oscar.

Andrew Macbean, London, UK

I was Susannah's stand-in pilot when Gold was being shot in South Africa and fortunately was her size to fit into her bright pink flying suit for the exciting flying sequences being filmed in the Waterberg canyon. Nick Turvey the well-known aerobatic champ did the flying sequences for Roger Moore. I'm saddened to learn of Susannah's death at so young an age.

Libby Stark, London, UK

I first Ms York when she played Joss, the young woman in 'The Greengage Summer' with Kenneth More and Jane Asher. I was very, very impressed with her. I also saw her in Oxford where she appeared in 'The Wings of a Dove'. After that, I never saw her in a bad film, play or television programme. My only regret is that she did not make more Hollywood films - she should have, and would have been a true 'star'. I thought her 'amazingly' beautiful as a young woman, always an interesting person when interviewed, and someone to be admired and charmed by as she aged. I am happy to learn that she was loved by her children - so many 'stars' are not. It is tragic that she died at such a relatively young age.

Charles Jenkins, Fayetteville, North Carolina, USA

I had the pleasure of bringing breakfast to Susannah on my morning shift as a young boy at Gleneagles hotel in 1969, I was only 15 and taking breakfast to her was a shy moment for me as she was so attractive. She sat up in bed and smiled. She was making a movie with Peter O' Toole and always left a tip. Rest in peace.

Marty, Liverpool, UK

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