Since the late 1960s the nebulous concept of stardom has been subjected to a systematic inflation of values. In a routine television series, for instance, the status of some obscurely minor supporting performer is frequently aggrandised into that of "guest star"; many of the freakish menagerie of hangers-on who peopled Andy Warhol's Factory-produced psychodramas complacently styled themselves "superstars"; and Barry Humphries' alter ego, the redoubtable Edna Everage, has risen almost imperceptibly from the humble rank of "housewife" to that of "megastar".
Statuesque, tawny-haired Ingrid Pitt will be remembered as the buxom actress with exotic looks and an intriguing accent who brought an overt sexuality to Hammer horror, as the star of the studio's first film to concentrate on female protagonists, The Vampire Lovers (1970). She also starred in Countess Dracula (1971), based on a real-life case, in which she played the title character, who drained girls of their blood to retain her youth. After that, her cult following labelled her "England's first lady of horror".
The Exorcist has been terrifying audiences for decades. But the dark secrets of its making are only now coming to light. Guy Adams reveals the truth of a horror classic
What causes some relationships to echo through the ages? Their joy? Their intensity? Their resilience? Or their triumph against the odds? Ariane Sherine concludes our two-day celebration of true romance by choosing 25 more couples who, in different ways, embody the power of love
Quiet hell of a rotten relationship
We may get hitched with the best intentions, but it doesn't always turn out happily ever after. As Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills finally call time on married life, Virginia Ironside explains how to get split without losing your sanity – or £24m
Richard Burton's affair with Elizabeth Taylor, who went on to become his wife – twice – is infamous. But a new biography of the great Welsh actor claims that he also cheated on his first wife with the Hollywood legends Marilyn Monroe and Lana Turner.