But Court was someone who had a fascinating and storied career, working for more than three decades at her craft, only to pursue an entirely different art form later in life.
A fine English lady, Court was one of the "Gainsborough Girls" so important to the British film industry following World War II. She appeared in many mysteries, thrillers and film noir films throughout the 1940s. Her first appearance in genre circles came with Vernon Sewell's GHOST SHIP, a 1952 obscurity that is starting to get a small following, thanks in part to renewed interest in Sewell's filmography among cult cinema fans. Next came a starring role in the cheeseball classic, DEVIL GIRL FROM MARS, where she played a very non-devilish human at the mercy of the title character.
In 1957, he truly endeared herself to a new generation of horror fans by starring in Terence Fisher's unquestionable classic, THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN as the tormented Elizabeth. She teamed with Fisher again two years later with THE MAN WHO COULD CHEAT DEATH.
Court did not confine herself to British film roles. After starring in Sidney J. Furie's DR. BLOOD'S COFFIN, she began to appear in another gothic horror mainstay. When Roger Corman began his classic Edgar Allen Poe cycle, he saw an immediate talent in Court. He first starring role for Corman was in his third Poe adaptation, THE PREMATURE BURIAL. She would also star in Corman's comedic THE RAVEN and my personal favorite of the Poe films, THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH. The featured role in this latter film is truly a departure for Court. Just as THE RAVEN was a comedic change of pace, RED DEATH showed Court could be villainous and duplicitous as well. In that film, she played Juliana the mistress to the demonic Prospero, played by Vincent Price. Her wickedness is trumped only by her jealousy as Prospero becomes enamored with the pure and virginal Francesca.
MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH would be Court's final major big screen role. She did however appear in many classic television shows. Among them: THE INVISIBLE MAN, BONANZA, EDGAR WALLACE MYSTERY THEATRE, DANGER MAN, ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, THRILLER, THE TWILIGHT ZONE, TWELVE O'CLOCK HIGH, BURKE'S LAW, GIDGET, WILD WILD WEST and MANNIX.
And yet, after the early 1970s, she for the most part retired. She would appear uncredited in THE FINAL CONFLICT in a passing role, but otherwise her filmography ends in 1972. She focused mainly on painting and sculpting in later years, something for which she became widely respected. She still remembered her fans however and could be seen at events and conventions until very recently.
Hazel Court was married to Dermont Walsh in 1949 and the two had one child together. That child, Sally Walsh, appeared as a younger version of Court's character in THE CURSE OF FRANKENSTEIN. Court and Walsh divorced in 1963 and the following year she married Don Taylor, director of THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU (1977), DAMIEN: OMEN II and THE FINAL COUNTDOWN among others. They had two children together, Courtney and John Taylor. Court and Taylor were together until his death in 1998.
Hazel Court suffered a fatal heart attack on April 15th, 2008. She leaves behind legions of mourning fans who will continue to remember and support her amazing work.