Caroline Munro is one of my all time favourite actresses. Being a big horror fan, I naturally have a particular liking for all the horror and fantasy movies she has made over the years. And I was really excited to see Caroline – in PERSON – at the Liverpool Horror Con last year.
Caroline Munro was born on 16th January 1949. She is a stunning English actress and model known for her many appearances in horror, science fiction and action films of the 1970s and 1980s.
Her career got off the ground in 1966, when her mother and photographer friend entered some head shots of her to Britain’s The Evening News “Face of the Year” contest. This led to some modelling assignments, and her first job was for Vogue magazine when she was 17. She moved to London to take up top modelling jobs, and became a major cover girl for fashion and TV advertisements, attracting a huge male following.
Various bit parts came her way in such films as Casino Royale (1967) and Where’s Jack? (1969). The year 1969 actually proved to be a good year for Caroline, because it was then that she became the face of Lamb’s Navy Rum. Her image was plastered all over the country, and this would eventually lead to her next big break.
In 1971 she appeared alongside Vincent Price in The Abominable Dr. Phibes, playing the deceased Mrs. Victoria Regina Phibes. She also repeated the role in the sequel, Dr. Phibes Rises Again, in 1972. That same year, she was referred to in Colin Blunstone’s song “Caroline Goodbye”, a song about the break-up of their relationship.
Hammer Films CEO Sir James Carreras spotted Caroline on a Lamb’s Navy Rum poster/billboard. He asked his colleague, James Liggett, to find her and offer he a screen test. She was immediately signed to a one-year contract.
Her first Hammer movie proved to be quite a significant point in her career. It was during the making of Dracula AD 1972 – in which she willingly takes part in a satanic ceremony, becoming Count Dracula’s first victim after his resurrection – that she decided from hereon she was a fully-fledged actress. Previous to this, she was always regarded as a model who did some acting occasionally.
Munro’s last film for Hammer was Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter in 1974. Directed by Brian Clemens, she plays the barefoot gypsy girl Carla.In the Kronos DVD commentary, Clemens explains that he envisioned the role as a fiery, Raquel Welch type, red-head. Hammer pushed for Munro, and the script was adapted accordingly.
Munro is noted for being the only actor ever signed to a long-term contract by Hammer Films. She would later turn down the lead female roles in Hammer’s Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde, Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell, and the unmade Vampirella because there was nudity required in the scripts.
Caroline came to the United States in 1980 to film Maniac, a controversial slasher movie due to its vicious treatment of women. She also went on to star in Don’t Open Till Christmas, Slaughter High, Howl of the Devil (with Paul Naschy), Faceless (from Jess Franco, with another amazing cast, including Telly Savalas) and The Black Cat.
Caroline still makes the occasional appearance at various horror conventions, and still enjoys a big fan following.
Her official website is: http://www.carolinemunro.org/