According to early publicity reports, Polish actress Ingrid Pitt was born in 1943 while her parents were being shipped to a Nazi concentration camp. However, Pitt lists her date of birth as November of 1945, by which time the camps had been abolished. Whatever the case, she survived the war to become a leading actress on the East Berlin stage. She made her film debut in a Spanish bullfighting picture, then spent many years playing decorative roles in international productions filmed on location in Spain: Doctor_Zhivago (1965), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1966), Chimes at Midnight (1967), Where_Eagles_Dare (1969), among others. Pitt did not attain her “cult” status in films of that nature; instead, she won the hearts of gothic horror fans for her sensuous, stylish work in such films as The_Vampire_Lovers (1971) — in which, as lesbian vampire Carmilla, she literally loses her head to Peter Cushing — Countess_Dracula (1973), and The_Wicker_Man (1977). Ingrid Pitt is most familiar to televiewers for her performance as Elvira in the 1982 British miniseries Smiley’s People. Hal Erickson, Rovi
Her exotic looks and eastern European accent came to the notice of Hammer executives who cast Pitt as vampiress “Mircalla” in the sensual horror thriller The Vampire Lovers (1970). The film was a box office success with its blend of horror and sexual overtones, and Pitt was a beautiful, yet ferocious bloodsucker. Next up, Pitt was cast by Amicus Productions as another gorgeous vampire in the episode entitled “The Cloak” in the superb The House That Dripped Blood (1971). This time, Ingrid played an actress appearing in horror films alongside screen vampire Jon Pertwee, but then later reveals herself to be a real vampire keen on recruiting fresh blood.
Ingrid donned the fangs for her third vampire film in a row, Countess Dracula (1971) which was loosely based around the legend of the 16th century bloodthirsty Countess Elizabeth Bathory. Whilst not as successful, as the two prior outings, Ingrid Pitt had firmly established herself as one of the key ladies of British horror of the 1970s. She then appeared in the underrated The Wicker Man (1973) as an uncooperative civil servant annoying Edward Woodward in his search for a missing child. Further work followed in The Final Option (1982), as “Elvira” in the adaptation of the John le Carré Cold War thriller “Smiley’s People” (1982), Wild Geese II (1985) and The Asylum (2000).
Ingrid Pitt made regular appearances at horror conventions and fan gatherings, had penned several books on her horror career, and she relished talking to fans about her on screen vampiric exploits. Ingrid’s fan club is known as the “Pitt of Horror”! A much loved and genuine cult figure of modern horror cinema, she died on November 23, 2010, just two days after her 73rd birthday.