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The Washington Post (05/Jul/2011) - Actress Anna Massey dies at 73




Actress Anna Massey dies at 73

Anna Massey, who as a young actress was killed off in Alfred Hitchcock's 'Frenzy" (1972) and later became a stalwart of British period dramas, often cast as a waspish spinster or maiden aunt, died July 2 in London. She was 73 and had cancer.

The actress was born in 1937 into a performing family — her father was Canadian actor Raymond Massey, and her mother was British actress Adrianne Allen. Her brother, Daniel Massey, also became an actor, and her godfather was director John Ford.

Ms. Massey made her West End stage debut at 17 in 'The Reluctant Debutante" and her film debut in Ford's 1958 police procedural 'Gideon's Day."

She had roles in films including Michael Powell's chiller 'Peeping Tom" (1960), Otto Preminger's 'Bunny Lake is Missing" (1965) and the 2002 adaptation of 'The Importance of Being Earnest," in which she played the comic governess Miss Prism.

Ms. Massey worked most frequently in television period dramas. She appeared in TV adaptations of Anthony Trollope's 'The Pallisers," Thomas Hardy's 'Tess of the D'Urbervilles," Charles Dickens' "Oliver Twist" and many others.

Ms. Massey won Britain's top acting award for her role in the 1986 TV adaptation of Anita Brookner's novel 'Hotel du Lac."

In 2006, Ms. Massey played former prime minister Margaret Thatcher in the TV drama 'Pinochet in Suburbia."

The actress revealed in a memoir that she had struggled with depression and stage fright, and suffered a nervous breakdown in the 1960s.

She once said that as an actor, 'I'm not instinctive. It takes enormous discipline and bravery to get me there."

Her first marriage, to actor Jeremy Brett, ended in divorce. Survivors include her second husband, Uri Andres; and a son from her first marriage.