Blind psychic in 'Don't Look Now'
Saturday 16 September 2006
Hilary Lavender Mason, actress: born Birmingham 4 September 1917; married Roger Ostime; died Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire 5 September 2006.
Although a prolific television character actress for almost half a century, Hilary Mason will be best remembered on screen as the blind, psychic Heather in the macabre supernatural thriller "Don't Look Now". The 1973 film starred Julie Christie and Donald Sutherland as John and Laura Baxter, a grieving couple holidaying in a wintry Venice after the death of their daughter, Christine, who was drowned in the garden pond while wearing a shiny, red mackintosh. When Laura meets the two spinster sisters in a restaurant toilet, she is shocked to be told that Heather has seen her daughter. "I've seen her and she wants you to know that she's happy," says the old woman:
I've seen your little girl, sitting between you and your husband, and she was laughing. Yes, oh, yes, she's with you, my dear, and she's laughing. She's wearing a shiny little mac. She's laughing, she's laughing - she's happy as can be.
Later, Laura attends a seance with the sisters and - when Heather gets what she claims to be a message from Christine - is disturbed to be told that her husband, John (Sutherland), is in danger. A sceptical John fails to heed the warning and in the final scenes of the film is murdered by a female dwarf in a red, hooded coat. Throughout this eerie film, based on a Daphne du Maurier short story, the director, Nicolas Roeg, leaves us unsure whether Mason's chilling character really is a psychic or a con artist, particularly in a scene showing the sisters laughing after convincing Laura that they have contacted her daughter.
Born in Birmingham in 1917, Mason won a scholarship to the London School of Dramatic Art before gaining repertory theatre experience in Preston, Southport, York and Guildford. During the Second World War she performed with the troops entertainment organisation Ensa.
Mason made her television début as Mrs Drummond in the drama series Thunder in the West (1957), and played Mrs Yapp in the Midlands-based local council serial Swizzlewick (1964) and Mrs Timothy in the soccer soap United! (1965-67), as well as taking two roles in Coronation Street. Following a bit-part as Mrs Ainsworth (1965), she was Derek Wilton's mother (1976), who disapproved of her son's relationship with the dithering Mavis Riley and insisted it must end - to no avail.
Adept at character roles, Mason took eight different parts in Z Cars (1962-71) and another three in Dixon of Dock Green (1965, 1966, 1967), before playing Lady Boleyn in the acclaimed, six-part drama The Six Wives of Henry VIII (starring Keith Michell in the title role, 1970), Mrs Nickleby in Nicholas Nickleby (1977), Mrs Gummidge in David Copperfield (1986) and Mrs Fagge in Great Expectations (1989).
In comedy, she acted Mrs Booth, exasperated mother to the chalk-and-cheese twin brothers, in My Brother's Keeper (1975-76) and Gladys (1990-94) in Maid Marian and Her Merry Men, the children's series written by Tony Robinson - with Mason's real-life husband, the actor Roger Ostime, taking the role of Gladys's father in one episode. She also played Michael Palin's mother in the Ripping Yarns episode "The Curse of the Claw" (1977).
After her part in "Don't Look Now", Mason was cast in the horror films I Don't Want To Be Born (acting Mrs Hyde, alongside Joan Collins as a stripper who gives birth to a "possessed" baby, 1975), Dolls (1987), Afraid of the Dark (1991) and Haunted (1995).
Board creates magnetic field to achieve lift
Follow the latest events from this Champions League fixture
Company reveals $542m investment in start-up building 'a rocket ship for the mind"
Like Madonna, Sister Cristina Scuccia's video is also set in Venice
Singer says the track was 'force-fed down people's throats'
techThe original free dating app will remain the same, developers say
- 1 Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
- 2 Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
- 3 Drink alcohol and eat meat to improve male fertility - but cut down on coffee, studies suggest
- 4 Former East 17 frontman Brian Harvey turns up at Downing Street and 'demands to speak to Prime Minister'
- 5 The inventor of the Facebook 'like' button says he never made a 'dislike' button because he feared the 'unfortunate consequences'
Ukraine crisis: Donetsk 'tactical missile' explosion at factory sends blast wave across rebel-held city
Jack the Ripper: Scientist who claims to have identified notorious killer has 'made serious DNA error'
Oscar de la Renta dead: Legendary US fashion designer dies after long cancer battle aged 82
Banksy arrest hoax: Internet duped by fake online report claiming artist's identity has been revealed
Super-sized ships arrive in Britain: How big can they get?
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters
London bus driver 'kicks gay couple off for kissing'
Lord Freud: Tory welfare minister apologises after saying disabled people are 'not worth’ the minimum wage
Lord Freud hangs on as MPs of all parties 'call for his head' over disability comments
Competitive: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our client based in Chelmsford a...
£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...
£23000 per annum + pension and 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ...
£27000 per annum + pension, 22 days holiday: Ashdown Group: An established ind...