Caroline Munro (born in 1949) is an English actress, model and singer known for her many appearances in horror, science fiction and action films of the 1970s and 1980s.
Munro’s career commenced in 1966 when her mother and a photographer friend entered some headshots of her in The Evening News’s “Face of the Year” contest:
“I wanted to do art. Art was my love. I went to art school in Brighton but I was not very good at it. I just did not know what to do. I had a friend at the college who was studying photography and he needed somebody to photograph and he asked me.
Unbeknownst to me, he sent the photographs to a big newspaper in London. The fashion photographer, David Bailey, was conducting a photo contest and my picture won.”
This led to modelling work for Vogue magazine at the age of 17. She moved to London to pursue modelling work and became a cover girl for fashion and TV advertisements while there. She had bit parts in films such as Casino Royale (1967) and Where’s Jack? (1969).
One of her photo ads led to a screen test and a one-year contract with Paramount where she was cast as Richard Widmark’s daughter in the comedy western A Talent for Loving (also 1969).
Photographs of Munro were used to portray Victoria Regina Phibes, the wife of the title character (played by Vincent Price) in The Abominable Dr Phibes (1971), and its sequel, Dr Phibes Rises Again (1972).
The chairman of Hammer Films, Sir James Carreras, spotted Munro on a Lamb’s Navy Rum poster/billboard. He asked his assistant, James Liggett, to find and screen test her.
She was promptly signed to a one-year contract. Her first film for Hammer proved to be a turning point in her career.
It was during the making of Dracula AD 1972 (1972) that she decided from this film onward she was a full-fledged actress.
Munro acted in Captain Kronos – Vampire Hunter (1974). Directed by Brian Clemens, she played the barefoot gypsy girl Carla. In Paramount Pictures’ DVD commentary, Clemens explains that he envisioned the role as a fiery Raquel Welch-type redhead.
Munro has the distinction of being the only actor ever signed to a long-term contract by Hammer Films. She turned down the lead female roles in Hammer’s Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971), Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell (1974), and the unmade Vampirella because they required nudity.
She also turned down roles in Force 10 from Navarone (1978) and The World Is Full of Married Men (1979) as they required nudity as well.
In 1977, Munro turned down the opportunity to play villainess Ursa in Superman in favor of Bond girl Naomi in The Spy Who Loved Me.
Munro continued to work in numerous British and European horror and science fiction films throughout the 1970s and 1980s, such as Starcrash (1978) with David Hasselhoff, Christopher Plummer, and Marjoe Gortner.
Munro’s career continued to thrive well in the 1980s, and she appeared in many slasher and Eurotrash productions.
(Photo credit: Wikimedia Commons / Pinterest).