British actress Kate O’Mara, who was known to many Americans during the 1980s as Joan Collins’ sister Cassandra Morell on ABC‘s Dynasty, died in Sussex, England this morning. She was 74. A TV vet since the 1960s with credits that included such cult British shows as The Saint and The Avengers, O’Mara was coveted for her portrayal of alluring, pungent personalities, such as The Rani in Doctor Who from 1985-86 and the ruthless businesswoman Laura Wilde in the BBC drama Howards’ Way. Born in Leicester, UK, O’Mara was the daughter of actress Hazel Bainbridge (The Family Way) and John Carroll. Originally, O’Mara pursued a career as a speech therapist, but she caught the acting bug and made her stage debut at 24 in a production of The Merchant of Venice. After breaking in TV, O’Mara caught the attention of Hammer Studios which cast her in the 1970 films The Horror of Frankenstein and The Vampire Lovers. She also made an appearance on Absolutely Fabulous as Jackie Stone. O’Mara founded The British Actor’s Theatre Company and wrote four books: two autobiographies Vamp Until Ready and Game Plan: A Woman’s Survival Kit as well as two fiction titles, When She Was Bad and Good Time Girl.
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