January 15, 2011 / 11:35 PM / 8 years ago

Actress Susannah York dies aged 72: report

LONDON (Reuters) - British actress Susannah York, one of the most memorable film faces of the 1960s, has died from cancer aged 72, British media reported late on Saturday.

British actress Susannah York speaks with an Israeli policeman April 19, 1998 outside the prison where jailed nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu is kept locked up. REUTERS/Str Old

York was best known for her role opposite Jane Fonda in the 1969 film “They Shoot Horses Don’t They?” for which she was nominated for an Oscar.

“She was an absolutely fantastic mother, who was very down to earth,” her son, actor Orlando Wells, told the Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

“She loved nothing more than cooking a good Sunday roast and sitting around a fire of a winter’s evening. In some sense, she was quite a home girl.”

A quintessential English rose with her blonde hair, blue eyes and fresh-faced complexion, along with Julie Christie and Sarah Miles, she was one of the most recognizable actresses from films in the 1960s, winning a swathe of male admirers.

She achieved international fame in such classic movies as “Tom Jones” and “A Man For All Seasons” and starred opposite the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift and Peter O’Toole.

Her film roles became less notable during the 1970s, although she appeared in the box office smash “Superman,” but she continued to enjoy an extensive stage career.

“She was as happy in a pub theater in Islington as she was in Hollywood,” Wells said.

She told Reuters in a 2001 interview that theater was her real love. “This is where I belong,” she said.

Away from acting, York wrote children’s books and was an ardent anti-nuclear campaigner.

She vigorously worked for the release of Israeli whistleblower Mordechai Vanunu who disclosed secrets that revealed the Jewish state was building atomic bombs and was in Israel when he was finally set free in 2004 after 18 years in jail.

“I remember back in 1961 when I was a young journalist, I interviewed her for a magazine for her film Greengage Summer, and I still remember how completely charmed I was,” playwright Tom Stoppard told the Telegraph.

Reporting by Michael Holden; Editing by Michael Roddy

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