Remembering Kate O’Mara

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.

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Kate O’Mara and Peter Cushing in Corruption.

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One thought on “Remembering Kate O’Mara

  1. Nice tribute, Tony, brief and to the point. I remember her on BBC-TVs The Brothers during the ’70s with Patrick O’Connell and Hilary Tindall, whom I interviewed at the time. It seems to be a forgotten series but it ran for several years and got Colin Baker’s (Dr Who) career off the ground. Kate’s characters often suggested the sadness behind the success of a beautiful, independent woman, and it was this combination of sexy looks with hint of melancholia which made me a big fan.

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