|Born:||January 16, 1949|
Windsor, Berkshire, England
|Height:||5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)|
Caroline Munro (born 16 January 1949) is a British actress and model known for her many appearances in science fiction and action films of the 1970s and 1980s.
According to Munro, her career took off in 1966 when her mother and photographer friend entered some headshots of her to Britain's The Evening News "Face of the Year" contest.
I wanted to do art. Art was my love. I went to Art School in Brighton but I was not very good at it. I just did not know what to do. I had a friend at the college who was studying photography and he needed somebody to photograph and he asked me. Unbeknownst to me, he sent the photographs to a big newspaper in London. The famous fashion photographer, David Bailey, was conducting a photo contest and my picture won.
This led to modelling chores, her first job being for Vogue magazine at the age of 17. She moved to London to pursue top modelling jobs and became a major cover girl for fashion and TV ads while there. Decorative bit parts came her way in such films as Casino Royale (1967) and Where's Jack? (1969). One of her many photo ads got her a screen test and a one-year contract at Paramount where she won the role of Richard Widmark's daughter in the comedy/western A Talent for Loving (1969).
1969 proved to be a good year for Munro, because it was then that she began a lucrative 10 year relationship with Lamb's Navy Rum. Her image was plastered all over the country, and this would eventually lead to her next big break.
1971 saw her appear alongside Vincent Price in The Abominable Dr. Phibes, playing the deceased Mrs. Victoria Regina Phibes:
The most challenging scenes involved lying in the coffin with Vincent," she reveals. "You see, I’m allergic to feathers and I was attired in this beautiful negligee — but it was covered with feathers! It took a great deal of willpower not to sneeze or sniffle. On occasion, I would simply have to sneeze and this would result in having to do another take.
She would reprise the role in the sequel, Dr. Phibes Rises Again in 1972. In the same year, she was referred to in Colin Blunstone's song "Caroline Goodbye", a song about the break-up of their relationship.
Hammer Horror films
Hammer Films CEO Sir James Carreras spotted Munro on a Lamb’s Navy Rum poster/billboard. He asked his right hand man, James Liggett, to find and screen test her. She was immediately signed to a one-year contract. Her first film for Hammer proved to be something of a turning point in her career. It was during the making of Dracula AD 1972 that she decided from this film onward she was a full-fledged actress. Up until then, she was always considered a model who did some acting on the side.
Munro completed her contract for Hammer with Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter in 1974. Directed by Brian Clemens, she plays the barefoot gypsy girl Carla. In Paramount Pictures DVD commentary, Clemens explains that he envisioned the role as a fiery, Raquel Welch type, red-head. Hammer pushed for Munro, and the script was adapted accordingly.
Munro has the distinction of being the only actor ever signed to a long-term contract by Hammer Films. She would later turn down the lead female roles in Hammer's Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde, Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell, and the unmade Vampirella because they required nudity.
The Golden Voyage of Sinbad
Brian Clemens later helped her get a most memorable role, Margiana, the slave girl in The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974).
I got the part — I had been signed by Hammer, for one year, for a contract, out of which I did two films, one being Dracula AD 1972, and the second one being Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter, which, kind of, would come full-circle, to Sinbad. It was written and directed by Brian Clemens, who wrote the screenplay for The Golden Voyage of Sinbad, so, I was lucky enough to be chosen for Captain Kronos, and they were searching for somebody to do Sinbad, and they wanted a big name, somebody American, or well-known, but Brian said "No". He kept lobbying Charles Schneer [producer] and Ray Harryhausen — saying: 'I think you should come and look at the rushes, and see what you think, because I think she's right'. So, they said "No", but, eventually, Brian persuaded them to do that, and they saw the rushes, and that was how I got the part. So, it was lovely, like work-out-of-work. I was very lucky to have done that. 
Other appearances during this time included I Don't Want to Be Born (1975) with Joan Collins, and At the Earth's Core (1976) with Peter Cushing and Doug McClure. She appeared also as Tammy, a nursing employee of a sinister health farm, in "The Angels of Death" (1977), an episode of the TV series The New Avengers that featured also rising stars Pamela Stephenson and Lindsay Duncan. This was notable, among other things, for a vicious fight between Munro and Joanna Lumley's Purdey.
In 1977, Munro turned down the opportunity to play villainess Ursa in Superman in favor of what would become her most celebrated film appearance, the ill-fated helicopter pilot Naomi in the Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. In one of the franchise's most memorable car chase sequences, she seductively winks at Bond while trying to gun him down from her helicopter. In her role as Naomi, she holds the distinction of being the first woman ever undeniably killed by James Bond. Cubby Broccoli urged Caroline to make her way to America in search of more lucrative offers. She declined preferring to stay close to her family.
Late seventies and eighties
Munro continued to work in numerous British and European horror and science fiction films through the 1970s and 1980s, most notably Starcrash (1979) with David Hasselhoff, Christopher Plummer and Marjoe Gortner.
Munro's career continued to thrive well in the 1980s, appearing in many slasher and Eurotrash productions. Her first film shot on American soil was the William Lustig production Maniac (1980). This was soon followed by the low-budget shocker The Last Horror Film (1982), in which she was reunited with her Maniac co-star Joe Spinell. She had a cameo role in the cult classic slasher Don't Open 'Til Christmas as a singer (1984), Slaughter High (1986), Paul Naschy's Howl of the Devil (1987), and Jess Franco's Faceless (1988), followed in rapid succession. She reteamed with Starcrash director, Luigi Cozzi, for Il Gatto nero in 1989. This would be Caroline's last major film appearance.
Throughout the 1980s, Munro was often cited by the press as being a candidate for the co-starring role in a proposed (but never produced) feature film based upon Doctor Who. The feature was being co-produced by her second husband George Dugdale. At various times, press reports linked her with numerous actors touted to play the role of The Doctor, including David Bowie.
Music and television
In 1984, she signed a recording contract with Gary Numan's label Numa Records, and released a catchy dance single called "Pump Me Up". Written and produced by Numan, the single hardly sold, and Numan admitted later that his label was probably to blame. His superior original version of the single can be found on his 1984 album Berserker.
Between 1984 and 1987, Munro was also a hostess on the Yorkshire Television game show 3-2-1. Munro was also a popular pin-up girl during this time, though she refused to pose nude. In the early 1980s, she appeared in music videos with Adam Ant and Meat Loaf.
Reduced appearances in the nineties
By the 1990s, Munro had decided to focus more on her family, daughters, Georgina and Iona, and husband George. Her sole film roles were confined to cameos as herself in Night Owl (1993), as Mrs. Pignon in To Die For (1994), and playing the counsellor in director and friend Jeffrey Arsenault's Domestic Strangers (1996). Other work included a guest-starring spot in a 1992 episode of Tropical Heat, interviews for Ted Newsom's 100 Years of Horror documentaries and the Hammer Films tribute: Flesh and Blood - The Hammer Heritage of Horror.
- The song "Caroline Goodbye" on the 1971 LP "One Year" by Colin Blunstone, lead singer of The Zombies, is about the break-up of their relationship. This was his first solo album.
- Caroline Munro links at FreeOnes
- interview with Munro
- Audio interview at BBC Wiltshire
- Den Of Geek interview Caroline Munro
- Cult Sirens profile
- Margiana website
- The World of Hammer Glamour's extensive overview over Caroline Munro's life and career