Kate O’Mara, who has died aged 74, was on tour with an Agatha Christie play back in the spring of 2012. When she was in Bradford at the Alhambra Theatre she agreed to meet me for an interview about the two films she made with Peter Cushing. We spent just over an hour together discussing the merits of Corruption and The Vampire Lovers and, of course, Cushing. Kate told me things I never before knew – and I’ve been researching Cushing’s life and career for a quarter of a century – but also something else. She had had to go back on the road to keep her son, Dickon who, a couple of years earlier, had suffered brain damage after he was run over by a car. And there is the measure of the woman. In her seventies she was slogging around the theatre circuit to care for her child, then in his late forties. Dickon hanged himself late in 2012. Now Kate is gone, too. I really can’t believe the news. It was clear that she was tired when we met but the reality of touring theatre means actors have to be resilient. And that’s the case whatever age you happen to be. It took guts for her to get out there on the touring circuit; she was no longer young and energetic. But she had a reputation and an allure. Listening back tonight to our interview I was struck by her utter lack of vanity. She was, as Ian McKellen describes himself, a slogger. And, boy, did she have guts.
Remembering Kate O’Mara