biography

Born in England on December 29, 1937 (some sources cite her date of birth as 1938 and her place of birth as Ireland), actress Barbara Steele's striking, exotic visage helped make her an international horror film star in the 1960s. As a child Steele was interested in a career as an artist, but as she matured she decided to give acting a try. Steele first landed a small part in the British comedy Bachelor of Hearts (1958; with Hardy Kruger and Sylvia Syms). A few other roles followed, yet Steele found fame in the Italian-made horror classic Black Sunday (1960; with John Richardson), directed by Mario Bava. Black Sunday helped typecast her as a horror actress. More horror films followed, including Pit and the Pendulum (1961; with Vincent Price and Luana Anders), The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1964; with Robert Flemyng), and The Crimson Cult (1970; with Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee). Aside from horror films, Steele has appeared in such diverse films as Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 (1963; with Marcello Mastroianni and Claudia Cardinale), The Maniacs (1964; with Margaret Lee), Caged Heat (1974; with Juanita Brown), and Pretty Baby (1978; with Keith Carradine and Brooke Shields).

Barbara SteeleMario Bava and Barbara Steele

LEFT: Cheesecake shot of beautiful Barbara Steele. RIGHT: With horror director Mario Bava during the filming of Black Sunday in April 1960

In 1969, Steele married successful screenwriter James Poe, who wrote the screenplays of such films as Summer and Smoke (1961; with Laurence Harvey and Pamela Tiffin), Lilies of the Field (1963; with Sidney Poitier), and They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969; with Jane Fonda and Michael Sarrazin). Following her marriage, Steele bowed out of acting for several years. During her hiatus, she gave birth to her son, Jonathan, in 1971.

the films of barbara steele

Black Sunday (1960) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

Ivo Garrani, John Richardson, and Barbara SteeleBarbara SteeleBarbara Steele

From Mario Bava's horror masterpiece, Black Sunday, in which Steele plays a dual role. LEFT: With Ivo Garrani and John Richardson. CENTER: Steele is terrified of the iron mask. RIGHT: Steele as Princess Asa

Pit and the Pendulum (1961) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

Vincent Price and Barbara Steele

From Roger Corman's Poe-inspired horror flick Pit and the Pendulum with Vincent Price

The Ghost (1963) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

Barbara Steele and Peter BaldwinBarbara Steele

From the Italian-made horror film The Ghost. LEFT: With Peter Baldwin. RIGHT: Steele as Margaret Hichcock

Castle of Blood (1964) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

Margarete Robsahm and Barbara SteeleBarbara Steele and Georges Riviere

LEFT: With Margarete Robsahm in the effective Italian horror film Castle of Blood. RIGHT: With Georges Riviere

The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1964) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

Barbara Steele and Robert Flemyng

With Robert Flemyng in the Italian horror flick The Horrible Dr. Hitchcock

The Maniacs (1964)

Barbara Steele

From the Italian comedy The Maniacs

Nightmare Castle (1965) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

Paul Muller, Pik Battaglia, and Barbara Steele

Paul Mulller catches wife Barbara Steele and her lover Rik Battaglia in the act and tortures them in the effective horror thriller Nightmare Castle

I Spy (1965-1968 NBC TV Series)

Barbara Steele

Steele as she appeared in a November 1966 episode of the NBC TV series I Spy titled Bridge of Spies

The She-Beast (1966) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

Ian Ogilvy and Barbara Steele

Newlyweds Ian Ogilvy and Barbara Steele have an accident in the horror release The She-Beast

The Crimson Cult (1968)

Barbara Steele

Boris Karloff and Christopher Lee headlined the horror flick The Crimson Cult, released in the US by AIP

Pretty Baby (1978)

Brooke Shields, Keith Carradine, and Barbara SteeleBrooke Shields, Keith Carradine, and Barbara Steele

Barbara Steele played a supporting role in Paramount's then-scandalous release Pretty Baby. Also pictured are Brooke Shields and Keith Carradine

Silent Scream (1980) Get It Here at Movies Unlimited

Barbara Steele

Steele's last theatrically released horror film to date, Silent Scream is both fun and surprising

barbara steele today

Returning to the screen in the mid 1970s, Steele appeared in several horror films, including Shivers (1975; with Paul Hampton) and Silent Scream (1980; with Cameron Mitchell and Yvonne De Carlo). Following the release of the latter film, she once again left her acting career behind in favor of producing television shows and miniseries. Today, Barbara Steele occasionally tackles a film role and was an associate producer of Bravo's hit series Queer Eye for the Straight Guy.

barbara steele films available from movies unlimited

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FILM
Black Sunday (Remastered Edition) [Blu-ray](1960)
This vampire fantasy, directed by Mario Bava in his first solo effort, made a horror goddess out of actress Barbara Steele. Condemned in the 1600s as a witch and gruesomely executed, Steele returns from the grave to massacre her family's survivors, including her look-alike descendant. With John Richardson, Ivo Garrani. AKA: "The Demon's Mask." 86 min. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono; audio commentary; featurette; theatrical trailer.
Black Sunday (Remastered Edition) [DVD](1960) DVD
This vampire fantasy, directed by Mario Bava in his first solo effort, made a horror goddess out of actress Barbara Steele. Condemned in the 1600s as a witch and gruesomely executed, Steele returns from the grave to massacre her family's survivors, including her look-alike descendant. With John Richardson, Ivo Garrani. AKA: "The Demon's Mask." 87 min. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono; audio commentary; theatrical trailers.
The Pit And The Pendulum (1961)/Tales Of Terror (1962) [DVD] DVD
First, a young man's search for the truth behind his sister's death leads him into a medieval torture chamber and the demented schemes of brother-in-law Vincent Price. Chilling entry in director Roger Corman's Edgar Allan Poe series "The Pit and the Pendulum" also stars Barbara Steele, John Kerr. Next, in "Tales of Terror," three chilling short stories by Poe come to the screen in grand fashion under director Roger Corman: "Morella," "The Black Cat," and "The Case of M. Valdemar." Scares are served in generous portions by stars Price, Peter Lorre, and Basil Rathbone. 169 min. total. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English.
The Terror Of Dr. Hichcock [DVD](1962) DVD
Bizarre Gothic horror about a necrophiliac doctor who accidentally kills his wife during a "funeral game," then remarries to bring her back from the grave with his new wife's blood. Robert Flemyng and Barbara Steele star in this Italian-made shocker, recut and released in the U.S. as "The Horrible Dr. Hichcock." AKA: "The Secret of Dr. Hichcock." 84 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English (dubbed). Dubbed in English.
The Ghost [DVD](1963) DVD
A woman murders her husband with dreams of owning his fortune in jewels, but when his spectre returns from the grave it's clear he's out for revenge...or is he? Bizarre chiller with British scream queen Barbara Steele, Peter Baldwin. 96 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English (dubbed) mono. Plays All Regions.
8 1/2 (Special Edition) [DVD](1963) DVD
Federico Fellini's masterpiece centers on Marcello Mastroianni, a filmmaker overwhelmed by personal and career problems, who checks into a health spa in hopes of reinvigorating himself. But memories of his recent past and his childhood, troublesome producers and agents, and his lust for women keep getting in the way of his rehabilitation. Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimee, Barbara Steele and Sandra Milo also star. 135 min. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtrack: Italian Dolby Digital mono; Subtitles: English; audio commentary; theatrical trailer; "Fellini: A Director's Notebook"; documentary; interviews; photo gallery. Two-disc set.
8 1/2 (Special Edition) [Blu-ray](1963)
Federico Fellini's masterpiece centers on Marcello Mastroianni, a filmmaker overwhelmed by personal and career problems, who checks into a health spa in hopes of reinvigorating himself. But memories of his recent past and his childhood, troublesome producers and agents, and his lust for women keep getting in the way of his rehabilitation. Claudia Cardinale, Anouk Aimee, Barbara Steele, and Sandra Milo also star. 138 min. Widescreen; Soundtrack: Italian Dolby Digital mono; Subtitles: English; audio commentary; bonus film "Fellini: A Director's Notebook"; documentary; interviews; photo gallery; theatrical trailer. In Italian with English subtitles.
The Monocle [DVD](1964) DVD
What is "the Monocle"? It's the codename of a heroic French secret agent sent to Hong Kong where he must race against time to find the criminal who is determined to destroy an American aircraft carrier. Nail-biting yet comedic spy thriller stars Marcel Dalio, Paul Meurisse, Barbara Steele. Soundtrack: English (dubbed). Dubbed in English.
Castle Of Blood (Castle Of Terror) [DVD](1964) DVD
Classic creeper from Antonio Margheriti ("Yor: The Hunter from the Future") detailing the horrific adventures of a British journalist who bets a visiting Edgar Allan Poe that he can stay in a haunted mansion overnight. Little does the journalist realize the terrors he's about to encounter. Barbara Steele, Georges Riviere star. AKA: "La Danza Macabra," "Long Night of Terror," "Tombs of Horror," "Tombs of Terror." 89 min. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono, French Dolby Digital mono; Subtitles: English (in restored French language footage); theatrical trailer; photo gallery.
The Long Hair Of Death [DVD](1964) DVD
Atmospheric shocker from director Anthony M. Dawson stars Barbara Steele as the daughter of a woman burned at the stake for witchcraft during the 16th century who returns from the dead seeking revenge. Moody scares and eroticism are featured; with Giorgio Ardisson, Halina Zalewska. 90 min. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English (dubbed). Dubbed in English.
Nightmare Castle (Widescreen Version) [DVD](1965) DVD
Atmospheric European horror outing about a doctor who tortures and kills his unfaithful wife and her lover as part of his experiments in regenerating human blood, then marries her half-sister. Barbara Steele stars in a dual role; with Paul Miller (Muller). AKA: "The Faceless Monster," "Lovers Beyond the Tomb," "Orgasmo." 104 min. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtrack: English (dubbed) Dolby Digital mono. Dubbed in English.
Euro Fiends From Beyond The Grave [DVD] DVD
First, those who encounter Erika Blanc's sexy, living-dead mannequin may go a little "stiff" themselves (in more than one sense of the word), as "The Red Headed Corpse" (1971) serves as the twisted obsession for a hard-drinking artist (Farley Granger). The ghostly and erotic Italian chiller also stars Krista Nell, Ivana Novak. AKA: "Sweet Spirits." Also includes "The Faceless Monster" (AKA: "Nightmare Castle") and "Satanik." Soundtrack: English (dubbed) Dolby Digital mono. Dubbed in English.

The She-Beast (Widescreen Version) [DVD](1966) DVD
The gorgeous Barbara Steele is the beast, a British tourist in Transylvania possessed by a witch. Ian Ogilvy and Mel Welles co-star in this spookfest, which also contains a bizarre anti-Communist sub-plot. 79 min. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono; Subtitles: English; audio commentary; photo gallery.
Terror Creatures From The Grave [DVD](1966) DVD
Dying by his wife's hand, a master occultist summons up forces of revenge from beyond eternity. Victims of the Black Death leave their ages-old resting place to stalk murdering widow Barbara Steele and inflict her with bubonic plague. 85 min. Standard; Soundtrack: English mono. Plays All Regions.
An Angel For Satan (Un Angelo Per Satana) [DVD](1966) DVD
Scream queen Barbara Steele stars in this moody Italian shocker in which she plays a woman possessed by the spirit of a 200-year-old statue found on the bottom of the lake. Accordingly, the townspeople begin to suspect her of practicing witchcraft. Anthony Steffen, Claudio Gora co-star. Soundtrack: Italian; Subtitles: none. In Italian; no subtitles.
Jackson County Jail (1976)/Caged Heat [DVD](1974) DVD
"Jackson County Jail" is an explosive cult action film starring Yvette Mimieux as a businesswoman wrongly detained in a backwoods jail where she's raped by a deputy. Fellow inmate Tommy Lee Jones helps her escape, and the two lead the law on a violent chase. Severn Darden, Robert Carradine, and Mary Woronov co-star, with early appearances by Howard Hesseman and Betty Thomas. And, Jonathan Demme's first directorial effort (he also wrote the screenplay), "Caged Heat," follows two female prisoners who escape from their brutal captivity and then break back in to deliver their own kind of justice. With Russ Meyer fave Erica Gavin, Juanita Brown, Roberta Collins, and Barbara Steele as the demented, wheelchair-bound warden; music by The Velvet Underground's John Cale. AKA: "Renegade Girls." 163 min. total. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital mono.
Piranha [Blu-ray](1978)
A toothy little horror film by Joe Dante ("Gremlins") that contains digs at other movies. A horde of man-eating fish is accidentally released into a river and make its way downstream to a family resort. Can anyone survive the, well, "Jaws" of the aquatic terrors? Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies, Kevin McCarthy, Paul Bartel, and the great Dick Miller star. 92 min. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtrack: English; audio commentary; "making of" featurette; behind-the-scenes footage; bloopers; outtakes; photo gallery; poster gallery; deleted scenes; radio spots; TV spots.
Piranha [DVD](1978) DVD
A toothy little horror film by Joe Dante ("Gremlins") that contains digs at other movies. A horde of man-eating fish is accidentally released into a river and make its way downstream to a family resort. Can anyone survive the, well, "Jaws" of the aquatic terrors? Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies, Kevin McCarthy, Paul Bartel, and the great Dick Miller star. 92 min. Widescreen (Enhanced); Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital stereo; audio commentary; "making of" featurette; behind-the-scenes footage; bloopers; outtakes; photo gallery; deleted scenes; TV spots; radio spots.
Silent Scream [DVD](1980) DVD
Terror so sudden there is no time to scream! When a young co-ed is unable to find housing on campus, she moves in to a local mansion that has been transformed into a boarding house for college students run by a woman and her son. But when people begin getting murdered at the residence, two detectives try to solve the mystery of the deaths before the body count rises. Rebecca Balding, Cameron Mitchell, Barbara Steele, and Yvonne De Carlo star. 87 min. Widescreen; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital 5.1; audio commentary; featurettes; interview; theatrical trailer; TV spot.

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barbara steele photos and posters available

filmography

FILM
The Butterfly Room (2012) with P.J. Soles, Heather Langenkamp, and Adrienne King
Her Morbid Desires (2008) with William Smith, Tippi Hedren, Cassandra Peterson, Ray Harryhausen, Robert Loggia, and Kevin McCarthy
The Capitol Conspiracy (1999) with Don 'The Dragon' Wilson
Deep Above (1994)
Dark Shadows (1990) with Ben Cross, Roy Thinnes, and Jean Simmons
Silent Scream (1980) with Cameron Mitchell, Avery Schreiber, and Yvonne De Carlo
The Key Is in the Door (1978)
Piranha (1978) with Bradford Dillman, Heather Menzies, Kevin McCarthy, Keenan Wynn, Dick Miller, Paul Bartel, and Richard Deacon
Pretty Baby (1978) with Brooke Shields, Keith Carradine, Susan Sarandon, Antonio Fargas, and Diana Scarwid
The Space-Watch Murders (1975) with Joan Caulfield, Russ Conway, Sam Groom, and Tisha Sterling
Shivers (1975) with Paul Hampton
Caged Heat (1974) with Juanita Brown, Roberta Collins, and Cheryl 'Rainbeaux' Smith
Honeymoon with a Stranger (1969) with Janet Leigh, Rossano Brazzi, Cesare Danova, and Eric Braeden
The Crimson Cult (1968) with Boris Karloff, Christopher Lee, and Mark Eden
Fermate il mondo... voglio scendere (1968)
An Angel for Satan (1966)
For Love and Gold (1966) with Vittorio Gassman
The She-Beast (1966) with John Karlsen and Mel Welles
Young Torless (1966)
I Soldi (1965) with Sylva Koscina
Nightmare Castle (1965) with Paul Muller, Helga Line, and Rik Battaglia
Five Graves for a Medium (1965) with Walter Brandi
The Long Hair of Death (1964)
The Monocle (1964)
Tre per una rapina (1964)
White Voices (1965) with Anouk Aimee and Rosalba Neri
Castle of Blood (1964) with Georges Riviere
The Maniacs (1964) with Margaret Lee and Franco and Ciccio
The Hours of Love (1963) with Ugo Tognazzi
The Ghost (1963) with Peter Baldwin
Federico Fellini's 8 1/2 (1963) with Marcello Mastroianni, Claudia Cardinale, and Anouk Aimee
Revenge of the Mercenaries (1963)
The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1962) with Robert Flemyng
The Pit and the Pendulum (1961) with Vincent Price, John Kerr, and Luana Anders
Your Money or Your Wife (1960) with Peggy Cummins
Black Sunday (1960) with John Richardson; directed by Mario Bava
Upstairs and Downstairs (1959) with Michael Craig, Anne Heywood, Mylene Demongeot, and Claudia Cardinale
Sapphire (1959) with Nigel Patrick, Yvonne Mitchell, Michael Craig, and Harry Baird
Bachelor of Hearts (1958) with Hardy Kruger and Sylvia Syms

TELEVISION SERIES
Dark Shadows, 1991 TV series. Steele portrayed Dr. Julia Hoffman
War and Remembrance, 1988 TV miniseries. Steele portrayed Elsa MacMahon and also served as producer
The Winds of War, 1983 TV miniseries. Steele portrayed Mrs. Stoller

TELEVISION GUEST APPEARANCES
Night Gallery, episode The Sins of the Fathers/You Can't Get Help Like That Anymore, originally aired February 23, 1972
I Spy, episode Bridge of Spies, originally aired November 9, 1966
Secret Agent, episode The Man on the Beach, originally aired December 16, 1965
Alfred Hitchcock Presents, episode Beta Delta Gamma, originally aired November 14, 1961
Adventures in Paradise, episode Daughter of Illusion, originally aired December 12, 1960

barbara steele links

Barbara Steele.net
This site chronicles the films of Barbara Steele.

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Watch Barbara Steele's 1963 horror flick The Ghost


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