Ingrid Pitt was an actress best known for her work in horror films of the 1960s and 1970s.
Pitt was born in Warsaw, Poland to a German father of Russian descent and a Polish Jewish mother. During World War II she and her family were imprisoned in a concentration camp.
In the early 1960s Pitt was a member of the prestigious Berliner Ensemble, under the guidance of Bertolt Brecht's widow Helene Weigel. In 1965 she made her film debut in Doctor Zhivago, playing a minor role. In 1968 she co-starred in the low budget science fiction film The Omegans and in the same year played "Heidi" in Where Eagles Dare opposite Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood.
t was her work with Hammer Film Productions that elevated her to cult figure status. She starred as "Carmilla/Mircalla" in The Vampire Lovers (1970), a film based on Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu's novella Carmilla, and played the title role in Countess Dracula (1971), a film based on the legends around Countess Elizabeth Báthory. Pitt also appeared in the Amicus horror anthology film The House That Dripped Blood (1971) and had a small part in the film The Wicker Man (1973).
During the 1980s, Pitt returned to roles in mainstream films and on television. Her role as Fraulein Baum in the 1981 BBC Playhouse Unity, who is denounced as a Jew by Unity Mitford (played by Lesley-Anne Down, who had played her daughter in Countess Dracula), was uncomfortably close to her real-life experiences. Her popularity with horror film buffs saw her in demand for guest appearances at horror conventions and film festivals. Other films Pitt has appeared in outside the horror genre are: Who Dares Wins, (aka The Final Option), Wild Geese II, and Hanna's War. Generally cast as a 'baddie', she usually manages to get killed horribly at the end of the final reel. "Being the anti-hero is great they are always roles you can get your teeth into."
Pitt made her return to the big screen in the 2000 production The Asylum. The film starred Colin Baker and Patrick Mower, and was directed by John Stewart. In 2003, Pitt voiced the role of "Lady Violator" in Renga Media's production Dominator. The film was the UK's first CGI animated film.
After a period of illness, Pitt returned to the screen in 2006 for the Hammer Films-Mario Bava tribute, Sea of Dust. In 1998, Pitt narrated Cradle of Filth's "Cruelty and the Beast" album, although her narration was done strictly in-character as the Countess she portrayed in Countess Dracula.
Pitt's first book, after a number of ill-fated tracts on the plight of the Native Americans, was a novel, Cuckoo Run, a spy story about mistaken identity. This was followed in 1984 by a novelisation of the Peron era in Argentina
In 1984, Pitt and her husband Tony Rudlin were commissioned to script a Doctor Who adventure. The story, entitled The Macro Men, was one of a number of ideas submitted by the couple, after she appeared in the season 21 DW story Warriors of the Deep. The plot concerned events surrounding the Philadelphia Experiment a US military experiment during the Second World War to try to make the naval destroyer USS Eldridge invisible to radar about which Pitt and Rudlin had read in a book entitled The Philadelphia Experiment by leading paranormal investigator Charles Berlitz. It involved the Doctor, and companion Peri, arriving on board the USS Eldridge in Philadelphia harbour in 1943 and becoming involved in a battle against microscopic humanoid creatures native to Earth but previously unknown to humankind. The writers had several meetings with script editor Eric Saward and carried out numerous revisions, but the story progressed no further than the preparation of a draft first episode script under the new title The Macros. The story has now been made by Big Finish in their Doctor Who: the Lost Stories audios, as The Macros.
In 1999, her autobiography, Life's a Scream (Heinemann) was published, and she was short-listed for the Talkies Awards for her own reading of extracts from the audio book, "I hate being second".
She married three times, first to Laud Roland Pitt Jr, an American GI; second to George Pinches, a British film executive; and then to Tony Rudlin, an actor and racing car driver. Her daughter, Steffanie Pitt-Blake, is also an actress.