Guest Actor Biography
Page 18 of 127

   

Anette Carell

Dr. Voss, The Fear Merchants

by Pete Stampede

Bronze-haired, angular and exuding an air of continental sophistication, Annette Carell patented a niche as unsympathetic characters, in the course of a regrettably short life and career. Born in Germany on 7 January 1929, her first traceable credit was a film made there, Der Grosse Zapfenstreich (1952). She was then in a curious biopic of Martin Luther (1953), listed as a US production, but with a mainly British and German cast, supporting Ireland's Niall MacGinnis in the title role. Carell was definitely resident in Britain by the end of the decade, when she began regularly turning up in the then-constant serials of literary adaptations. The first of these was as Miss Heydinger in Love And Mr Lewisham (BBC, 1959), with the great, modest actor Alec McCowen in the title role, then she was Mademoiselle Hortense in Bleak House (BBC, 1959), featuring Colin Jeavons as so many othwer classic serials did; intriguingly, Lady Dedlock, played by Diana Rigg in the better-known 1984 version, was here Iris Russell, Father from "Stay Tuned" (and also in "Mission to Montreal" and "November Five"). The Six Proud Walkers (BBC, 1962), with Carell as Miss Manson, was a thriller serial which proves that TV remakes are nothing new; the script, from Doctor Who co-creator Donald Wilson, had earlier gone before the cameras, in 1954.

For the big screen, Carell was in a Cold War programmer with Richard Greene, Beyond The Curtain (1960), then played a landlady in a well-reviewed, but now overlooked short film of Edgar Allen Poe's The Tell-Tale Heart (1960), co-adapted by Brian Clemens. Back on TV, she was in an episode of the fantasy anthology series One Step Beyond, "The Prisoner" (1961), shown on ABC in the US, under the Alcoa Presents banner (Patrick Macnee had been in an earlier episode); this was one of several made in Britain in its final season, and shown there by Associated-Rediffusion. Anton Diffring starred as a Nazi, for the umpteenth time in his career. Carell added a genuine Continental touch to one of Rupert Davies' cases as Maigret, "Liberty Bar" (BBC, 1960), also guest-starring Paul Eddington; this was a good series, and very popular, but the actors deliberately used their own accents, so the casual viewer might not have known they were all supposed to be French, except for every conversation ending with "au revoir". She was then a 'cool chick' called Laurie in The Human Jungle, "The Flip Side Man" (ABC, 1963), a Julian Wintle-produced series starring Herbert Lom as a caring, Harley Street psychiatrist, here probing a pop star called Danny Pace, who can't cope with the stresses of fame. Pace was played by Jess Conrad, a real-life minor pop star, who these days has an act in which he pretends to be a big-headed has-been (I think...).

Probably Carell's most notable film role was in John Schlesinger's Darling (1965), present at a Paris orgy along with Julie Christie and Laurence Harvey; her lesbian character was very much a stereotype, but frankly, all the characters in the film were, and it's one of the most dated of the important 60's films. She was in The Vulture (1966), an incredibly silly horror film, set in Cornwall for some reason, in which Broderick Crawford and other well-worn Hollywood names were sellotaped onto what was a standard cheap British screamie. But she remained prolific on TV; The Saint, "The Persistent Parasite" (ATV/ITC, 1965), supposedly in the South of France, also with Cec Linder; The Baron, "Long Ago and Far Away" (ATV/ITC, 1966), as the wife of a South American would-be dictator; and Out Of The Unknown, "The Fastest Draw" (BBC, 1966), another fantasy anthology entry, here starring the great American character actor Ed Begley, as a millionaire and Wild West fanatic called Amos Handworthy, who imports scientist James Maxwell to construct a gun-slinging robot for him. The Twilight Zone-like ending had Begley achieving his dream of a duel with the robot, only to find Maxwell has made it a bit too quick on the draw for him...

Adam Adamant Lives!, "Conspiracy of Death" (BBC, 1967) had Carell, as Monique, involved in the killing of a wartime comrade of droll butler Simms (Jack May), whose body was found at his old RAF base; presumably, this episode owed something to "The Hour That Never Was," which of course had guest-starred Adamant himself, Gerald Harper. In The Prisoner, "A. B. and C." (ATV/ITC, 1967), she played "B.", who was, like Peter Bowles as "A.", projected into Patrick McGoohan's psyche as part of the Village's latest fruitless attempt to get the reasons for his resignation; when Carell's face is first seen, Number 14 (Sheila Allen) comments, "She even looks like a spy." Carell hired McGill (Richard Bradford), in Man In A Suitcase, "The Girl Who Never Was" (ATV/ITC, 1967), to track down a painting lost since WW2, McGill addressing her throughout simply as Gilchrist, despite hints at a previous relationship; Bernard Lee, so often only thought of as M, gave an excellent performance in this as another painting hunter, a rather pathetic individual still clinging to delusions of being an officer and a gentleman. Sadly, in the same month that the last two were shown, Carell died, in London, on 20th October 1967. Her last role was an episode of The Informer, "Your Money Or Your Life" (Rediffusion, 1967), a vehicle for Ian Hendry as the nominal man of the underworld, with Neil Hallett in support and Paul Hardwick also guesting, shown in December 1967.

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Page last modified: 5 May 2017.

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