Susannah York

Last updated on the 20 June 2024 by Maeve

Susannah York headshot

Mini Biography

Born: 9 January 1939, Chelsea, London, England. 

Susannah York’s early life was split between London and rural Scotland after her parents’ divorce and this instilled in her a quiet determination. This resolve propelled her towards the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London, where she graduated in 1958, winning the Ronson Award for most promising student.

The Greengage Summer - Susannah York, Kenneth More and Jane Asher
The Greengage Summer – Susannah York, Kenneth More and Jane Asher

Susannah York’s career began in the early 1960s, and she was initially cast in roles that capitalised on her striking good looks – the blonde ingénue. Films like “Tunes of Glory” (1960) showcased her beauty, but York possessed a depth that yearned for more complex characters.

This desire was evident in “The Greengage Summer” (1961), where she played a schoolgirl awakening to her power. The turning point, however, came in 1963 with the bawdy period romp “Tom Jones.” As the spirited Sophie Western, York entranced audiences with her comedic timing and undeniable sensuality. The film’s international success catapulted her to stardom.

A Man for All Seasons - Susannah York and Paul Scofield
A Man for All Seasons – Susannah York and Paul Scofield

York refused to be typecast. She balanced her newfound fame with challenging dramatic roles. In “Freud: The Secret Passion” (1962), she portrayed a troubled patient, showcasing her emotional range. Her portrayal of Sir Thomas More’s daughter in “A Man for All Seasons” (1966) earned her critical acclaim, further solidifying her reputation as a serious actress. York also embraced the burgeoning counterculture, appearing in films like “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” (1969), a searing indictment of the Depression-era dance marathons.

The 1970s saw York venture beyond film. She triumphed on television with a critically acclaimed performance as Jane Eyre in the 1970 miniseries. This decade also witnessed her foray into directing and writing, notably, she penned the children’s books “In Search of Unicorns” and “Lark’s Castle,” displaying a whimsical side to her creativity.

Susannah York in Sands of the Kalahari
Susannah York in Sands of the Kalahari

York’s career continued to flourish in the following decades. She tackled diverse roles, from a troubled housewife in “Happy Birthday, Wanda June” (1971) to a ruthless maid in “The Maids” (1975). Interestingly, she even played Superman’s biological mother, Lara, in three Superman films, a testament to her versatility.

Susannah York’s personal life was relatively private. Married to writer Michael Wells from 1959 to 1980, she raised two children. Despite the demands of her career, she remained a devoted mother.

Susannah York passed away in 2011, leaving behind a rich legacy. Her career, spanning over five decades, is a testament to her exceptional talent and unwavering dedication to her craft.

 

Suggested viewing

 

The Greengage Summer (1961)

The Greengage Summer poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 6.7

A family vacation in France takes a turn when the mother falls ill, letting loose a group of unsupervised siblings in a quirky hotel and their own burgeoning emotions. Jealousy flares as the eldest daughter grapples with newfound desires and a charming hotel guest, while a younger sister contends with her own romantic awakening.

Top cast: Kenneth More, Danielle Darrieux, Susannah York, Claude Nollier, Jane Asher, Raymond Gérôme, Maurice Denham, Harold Kasket, André Maranne.

 

Tom Jones (1963)

Tom Jones poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 6.4

A charming rogue with a mischievous grin, an illegitimate son cast out by his benefactor, embarks on a whirlwind of bawdy adventures. From sword fights to mistaken identities, he pursues his one true love while dodging disapproving authority figures and a string of amorous encounters.

Top cast: Albert Finney, Susannah York, George Devine, Rachel Kempson, Angela Baddeley, Joyce Redman, Jack MacGowran, Diane Cilento.

 

Jane Eyre (1970)

Jane Eyre (1970) poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 6.4

An orphaned Jane endures a harsh childhood before finding solace as a governess. There, a passionate bond blossoms with her brooding employer, but a shocking secret threatens their happiness. Forced to flee, Jane embarks on a journey of self-discovery, ultimately leading her back to confront her past and fight for her future.

Top cast: George C. Scott, Susannah York, Ian Bannen, Rachel Kempson, Nyree Dawn Porter, Jack Hawkins, Kenneth Griffith, Peter Copley.

Alternative versions

Jane Eyre poster    Jane Eyre (2006)

 

A Man for All Seasons (1966)

A Man for All Seasons poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 7.7

A clash of conscience erupts when a steadfast man of principle, facing a powerful king’s demands, must choose between his unwavering faith and the safety of his family, risking everything to stand by his beliefs.

Top cast: Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Leo McKern, Robert Shaw, Orson Welles, Susannah York, Nigel Davenport, John Hurt, Vanessa Redgrave.

 

Tunes of Glory (1960)

Tunes of Glory poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.5

Resentment explodes when a gruff, old-school Scottish regiment leader clashes with his refined, newly appointed replacement. Their contrasting styles and approaches to discipline threaten to tear the battalion apart, forcing both men to confront their own vulnerabilities.

Top cast: Alec Guinness, John Mills, Susannah York, Dennis Price, Kay Walsh, John Fraser, Gordon Jackson, Duncan Macrae.

 

We’ll Meet Again (1982)

We'll Meet Again poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 7.1

A quiet English village is upended by the arrival of American airmen during WWII. Culture clashes and forbidden romances ignite as the locals grapple with wartime anxieties, forging unlikely bonds amidst the backdrop of a global conflict.

Top cast: Susannah York, Michael Shannon, Patrick O’Connell, Lynne Pearson, James Saxon, Lou Hirsch, Patrick Pearson, Kathryn Pogson, Ray Smith, June Barry, Lise Ann McLaughlin, Ed Devereaux.

More from the “home front”

Gemma Arterton, Their Finest

 

The Maids (1975)

The Maids (1975) poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 6.3

Two sisters, fueled by resentment, transform their wealthy employer’s absence into a twisted game of domination and rebellion. Through elaborate dress-up and fantasies of murder, they blur the lines between reality and desire, leading to a climax that exposes their simmering rage.

Top cast: Glenda Jackson, Susannah York, Vivien Merchant, Mark Burns.

 

Sands of the Kalahari (1965)

Sands of the Kalahari poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 6.7

A plane crash strands a group in the unforgiving Kalahari. While some fight for survival, a cunning manipulator plots to eliminate them one by one, seeking a solitary Eden with the lone woman survivor.

To cast: Stanley Baker, Susannah York, Stuart Whitman, Harry Andrews, Theodore Bikel, Nigel Davenport.

 

The Shout (1978)

The Shout poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 6.6

A secluded couple’s life is shattered by a mysterious visitor claiming mastery of a deadly shout. As paranoia and suspicion fester, the visitor’s chilling influence tests the couple’s bond and sanity, forcing a desperate fight for survival against an unseen threat.

Top cast: Alan Bates, Susannah York, John Hurt, Robert Stephens, Tim Curry, Julian Hough, Carol Drinkwater, John Rees, Jim Broadbent, Peter Benson.

 

Susannah York full filmography @ Wikipedia
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Evandrus
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Evandrus
26 days ago

CLIPS

Last edited 26 days ago by Evandrus
Evandrus
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Evandrus
26 days ago

Evandrus
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Evandrus
26 days ago

Evandrus
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Evandrus
26 days ago

Evandrus
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Evandrus
26 days ago

Evandrus
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Evandrus
26 days ago

Evandrus
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Evandrus
26 days ago

Evandrus
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Evandrus
26 days ago