Entertainment & Arts

Susannah York: Your memories

British actress Susannah York has died at the age of 72 after suffering from cancer, her son has said.

BBC News website readers have been sending their memories of the film, TV and theatre actress:

Chris Johnston: 'Susannah was a true star'

Image caption Chris Johnston was in a play with Susannah York

In 1998 I was asked to play Polonius in an excerpt from Hamlet at the Battersea Arts Centre. Susannah York was to play Gertrude with her son Orlando in the title role.

I hadn't met or worked with either of them before and was feeling a bit out of my depth when I arrived at the centre to begin rehearsals. But Susannah was there to meet me. She introduced herself, then took my arm and walked me to the cafeteria for "tea and a chat". I was quickly at ease with this warm, charming, relaxed and totally down-to-earth lady. A true star!

The excerpt from Hamlet which Susannah and I worked on was for a two month season called Theatre In The Dark. It was for the benefit of, and performed at, the Battersea Arts Centre from 12 May to 12 July, 1998. The Times newspaper commented "there is more to this fascinating season than meets the ear."

The audience saw only an empty stage. Then the lights went out and they saw nothing at all. They only heard the words and their imaginations did the rest. When the lights came back on there was Susannah, her son Orlando and myself in casual day clothes. The only 'prop' was a stepladder from the top of which I had produced the voice of the ghost of Hamlet's father. Great fun.

John Saint Ryan: 'She made my performance work'

Image caption John and Susannah in a Streetcar Named Desire

Years ago I played Mitch to Susannah's Blanche in The Octagon production of Streetcar. It was my first real break on stage and I was more than concerned about how I would hold up my end of the deal with someone so experienced and professional.

Susannah made it easy, she was a person who despite her tremendous talent didn't just think of her own performance but thought of the ensemble. She made my performance work because of her care and unselfish attitude. She was so real, I couldn't believe it when she came to visit our home and family and we all went out for a walk in the country.

Here I was, a lad from Lancashire with his wife and kids taking the dogs for a walk with a real star Susannah was a star, but more than that she was a wonderful human being. She made a difference in the world.

Anne Grice : 'She was a legend at our school'

I have a wonderful memory of Susannah. Susannah was at Wispers, West Dean Park, quite a number of years before my sister Suzy and me; hence when I bumped into Susannah in my 30s, queuing behind her to purchase something in the Design Centre in the Haymarket, I couldn't help but nudge her and say 'hello, fellow Wisperian!" and she turned and smiled, and for the rest of the time we queued we chatted. She was a legend at our school.

We chatted mostly about a wee place Susannah had in Paxos, and which she loved visiting and which, if ever I visited Paxos again (she had almost begun the conversation by saying what a lovely tan I had had and I had explained it by saying that I had just returned from two weeks in Paxos) I must visit if she was there. Sadly, I have mislaid the bus ticket she scribbled her address on the reverse of. As I say, though, a wonderful memory.

John Riddell: 'I sang for her'

When I was a budding guitarist/entertainer in London, Susan used to come and listen to me in The Chelsea Bistro and she taught me the words for Les Feuilles Mortes - Autumn Leaves and every time she came in I would sing it for her and she would cry each time I did. Why? I never did find out. She was Susan Wells in those days. Later in life I tried to contact her but never was able to. Such a lovely woman. I think of her often. I have lovely memories of her.

More of your emails

l used to work in Cobb's the butcher's shop in the 60s and she used to come in. She was very pleasant and very pretty and always had a smile. R.I.P Susannah. James [Jim] Carter, Wapakoneta, Ohio, USA

I first met Susannah York in 1985 when she came to Thessaloniki on tour with the The Human Voice. As a young employee of the British Council at the time, I felt very shaky at meeting the great star. I needn't have been. We sat down for lunch and she devoured hers - I was so nervous I couldn't eat a bite. "Are you not eating that?" she enquired. "Not very hungry" I muttered. "Then I'll have it, if you don't mind. My mother taught me never to waste food". And the ice broke. And we sailed through difficult rehearsals and three memorable performances which people still talk about here in Thessaloniki. It was an honour to have met her. Tasoula Pantazidou, Thessaloniki, Greece

I saw her in The Human Voice in a small theatre in Thessaloniki in the early 80s. Marvellous and enthralling. Even given the script's nature, she managed to inject some elements of herself into it in a way that made the invisible lover exist. Ed Joycey, Thessaloniki, Greece

I normally watch one of her most interesting movies, Superman. She acted a very good role as a mother there and to the best of my knowledge I have never heard of a bad comment about her. May her gentle soul rest in peace. Michael Gyang, Zawan-Plateau, Nigeria

I met her as a young ten-year-old at Corfu airport! It was the first time I had met anyone famous! And it was Superman's mum! I nervously asked for her autograph and she was so charming and had time to have a little chat with me! Made my holiday! Lesley Dixon, Huntingdon, UK

I met Susannah at CND rallies in the 1980s and at conferences in the 1990s. She was a lovely, warm woman and very committed activist as well as being a fantastic actress. David Lloyd, London

Never knew her, never met her, but always fell in love with her on the screen. She was a fabulous actress and so beautiful. And I'll never tire watching her films. Just loved her. Nick Owens, Australia

I wrote to Susannah as a fan in 1983, when I was going through a low period in my life. In the following week I received a handwritten reply on the back of a photo of her. She signed her kind words by writing: "For Ronnie - Happiness". What can you say - a heart of gold. Ron Kelly, County Durham, UK

About 12 years ago, I was on my gap year and working at a very high profile London restaurant. Susannah York attended a charity event in the private room along with lots of other celebrities and I was working in the cloakroom checking their coats in and out. In all my time working there she was the nicest and most gracious of all the diners I encountered. She stopped to speak to me and thanked me for giving up my time to work the event for free, something all the staff had done, and I've never forgotten how kind and genuine she was. Elle, London. UK

I remember her playing Mrs Cratchitt opposite George C Scott as Scrooge in a wonderful version of A Christmas Carol. Darren Preece, Palm Bay, Florida, USA

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