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Adrienne Corri

Last updated 02 October 2016


Adrienne Corri (1930-2016)
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Adrienne Corri

Born: Thu 13th November 1930
Died: Sun 13th March 2016 (age: 85)

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Adrienne Corri  is a Scottish-born actress of Italian parentage.

Despite having significant roles in many films, Adrienne Corri is likely to be remembered for one of her smaller parts, that of Mrs. Alexander, the wife of the writer Frank Alexander, in the 1971Stanley Kubrick dystopian film A Clockwork Orange. Though not the originally cast for this role, she was brought in after the first actress left. Clad in an eye catching bright red pajama suit, she answers the door to the hero of the film, Alex de Large, and in a scene redolent with black humor and violence is forcibly stripped and gang raped, Corri being thrust center stage in a exuberant quasi-theatrical spectacle, as Alex accompanies the stripping with a joyful rendition of 'Singing in the Rain'. Though the scene lasts barely three minutes and Corri's dialog is confined to some initial preliminaries, the nature of the scene and the manner of its presentation make it perhaps the most memorable scene in the entire film. Corri appeared in many excellent films, notably as Valerie in Jean Renoir's The River (1951), as Lara's mother in David Lean's Dr. Zhivago (1965) and in the Otto Preminger thriller Bunny Lake is missing . She also appeared in a number of horror and suspense films from the 1950s until the 1970s including Devil Girl from MarsThe Tell-Tale HeartA Study in Terror and Vampire Circus. She also appeared as Therese Duval in Revenge of the Pink Panther. The range and versatility of her acting is shown by appearances in such diverse productions as the 1969 science fiction movieMoon Zero Two where she played opposite the ever dependable character actor Sam Kyd (Len the barman), and again in 1969, in Twelfth Night, directed by John Sichel, as the Countess Olivia, where she played opposite Alec Guinness (Malvolio).

Her numerous television credits include Angelica in Sword of Freedom (1958), Yolanda in The Invisible Man tv series episode "Crisis in the Desert", a regular role in A Family At War and You're Only Young Twice, a 1971 television play by Jack Trevor Story, as Mena in the Doctor Who story "The Leisure Hive" and guest starred as the mariticidal Liz Newton in the UFO episode "The Square Triangle". In 1979 she returned to Shakespeare when she appeared in the BBC Shakespeare production of Measure for Measure, as the earthy, cheroot smoking keeper of a bawdy house, Mistress Overdone.

She had a major stage career, appearing regularly both in London and in the the provincial theaters. There is a story that, when the audience booed on the first night of John Osborne's The World Of Paul Slickey, Corri responded with her own abuse: she raised two fingers to the audience and shouted "Go fuck yourselves"[1] . Note that Billington only repeats the story, without confirming or providing any evidence of its truth. During the making of Moon Two Zero, she poured a glass of iced water inside James Olson's rubber space suit, in which uncomfortable state he was obliged to wear it for the remained of the day's shooting[2] .

She is the author of The Search for Gainsborough, a book written in diary form detailing her efforts to establish the provenance of a painting she believes to be by Gainsborough. It displays her wit and erudition, and her feisty character shines through the pages, as well as providing the reader with a fund of anecdotes regarding the actress herself. She was acquainted with many of the leading figures in the British theater, including Joe Orton, and he recounts in his dairies how he asked her advice on how best to end his relationship with his lover Kenneth Halliwell[3] . She enjoyed a good relationship with Stanley Kubrick, who joked with her that in the surprise visit sequence in A Clockwork Orange, where the two droogs, Alex and Dim, engage in a stylized display of libidinal excess, swinging her across the shoulders of Dim who marches gaily around the room, while Alex engages in a joyful rendition of 'Singing in the rain', skipping and dancing and swinging his cane until he approaches her, trousers around his ankles to commence the rape, she was cast in the "the Debbie Reynold's part"[4] . After finishing filming A Clockwork Orange, she kept in touch with Stanley Kubrick, who complained to her about the problem he had of losing socks whenever he did the washing, so for Christmas she gave him a pair of bright red socks, a wry comment on his domestic concerns and simultaneously a humorous reference to her now famous scene in A Clockwork Orange, where after Alex had finished snipping off her red pajama suit, she was naked except for a pair of red socks[5] .

Corri has married and divorced twice, to the actors Daniel Massey (1961-1967) and Derek Fowlds.

Biography from the Wikipedia article, licensed under CC-BY-SA