biography

Born Violet Pretty on December 11, 1931 in Birmingham, England, actress Anne Heywood was the daughter of a musician. Heywood's mother died suddenly during World War II, after which she quit school to help her father raise her siblings and keep house and, on occasion, supplemented the family income by working as a theatre usher. She later attended the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and was the winner of the Miss Great Britain title in 1950. Canadian impresario Carroll Levis discovered Heywood in the early 1950s, and she appeared on television and toured Britain with his popular stage show aimed at teenagers. In 1955, the actress was signed by Rank Film Organisation and adopted the stage name Anne Heywood. Almost instantly popular with British audiences, Heywood quickly worked her way up from supporting roles in such films as Doctor at Large (1957; with Dirk Bogarde and Shirley Eaton) and was cast in her first starring vehicle, the crime drama The Depraved (1957; with Robert Arden).

Heywood married producer Raymond Stross, who was 16 years her senior, in November 1960. Stross often procured screenplays filled with sexual innuendo and produced many of Heywood's subsequent films, often involving then-controversial sexual themes. Some of these include The Very Edge (1963; with Richard Todd, Nicole Maurey, and Jeremy Brett) and Ninety Degrees in the Shade (1965; with James Booth). The couple welcomed the birth of their son, Mark, in early 1963. For the next few years, Heywood worked relatively little until she was cast in the Canadian-shot drama The Fox (1967; with Sandy Dennis and Keir Dullea), based on th D.H. Lawrence novel of the same name. Stross produced the film and sank most of their assets in its million-dollar budget. The financial risk paid off, and the film grossed more than $14 million worldwide in its initial release. Heywood also nabbed a Golden Globe Award for best actress.

Anne HeywoodAnne Heywood

LEFT: Heywood in a 1967 shot used to promote The Fox, her best-known film. RIGHT: Heywood at Heathrow in 1971

Following the excellent critical and financial reception of The Fox (1967) and the release of the profitable The Lady of Monza (1969; with Hardy Kruger), Heywood realized that, in order to make it as a Hollywood star, she needed a successful vehicle. Her next film, Midas Run (1969; with Richard Crenna, Fred Astaire, and Cesar Romero) was produced by Stross and was supposed to be the film that made her a household name in the U.S., but the film fizzled at the box office and lost money. Her subsequent film, the cold war thriller The Chairman (1969; with Gregory Peck) faired better but was not a success at the box office. Heywood made no other films for three years, until the 1972 shocker I Want What I Want, again produced by her husband.

the films of anne heywood

Violent Playground (1958)

Stanley Baker and Anne Heywood

From the Rank Organisation crime drama Violent Playground with Stanley Baker

Floods of Fear (1958)

Howard Keel and Anne HeywoodHoward Keel and Anne Heywood

With Howard Keel in the Rank Organisation adventure Floods of Fear

Upstairs and Downstairs (1959)

Michael Craig and Anne Heywood

Heywood stars along with Michael Craig in the Rank Organisation farce Upstairs and Downstairs

Carthage in Flames (1960)

Anne Heywood

From the Italian peplum Carthage in Flames

The Brain (1962)

Anne Heywood

As Anna Holt in the horror film The Brain

The Fox (1967)

Keir Dullea, Anne Heywood, and Sandy Dennis

With Keir Dullea and Sandy Dennis in the then-controversial Canadian drama The Fox. Heywood was nominated for a Golden Globe Best Actress award in 1968 for her riveting performance

Midas Run (1969)

Anne Heywood

From the comedy/crime drama Midas Run. Heywood also sang the theme song for this film

The Chairman (1969)

Gregory Peck and Anne Heywood

With Gregory Peck in the big-budget 20th Century Fox thriller The Chairman

I Want What I Want (1972)

Anne HeywoodAnne Heywood

Heywood stars in a dual role as Roy and Wendy in the drama I Want What I Want, a reworking of the 1970 film The Christine Jorgensen Story

The Nun and the Devil (1973)

Anne Heywood

As the ruthless Mother Giulia in the Italian drama The Nun and the Devil

Trader Horn (1973)

Rod Taylor, Anne Heywood, and Jean Sorel

With Rod Taylor and Jean Sorel in the MGM adventure Trader Horn

anne heywood today

With her Hollywood dreams dashed, Heywood stayed busy acting in a few Italian giallos, including The Killer is on the Phone (1972; with Telly Savalas) and Ring of Darkness (1979; with John Phillip Law and Marisa Mell). Toward the end of her career, she made one more then-controversial film, Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff (1979; with John Lafayette, Donald Pleasence, and Carolyn Jones), which proved to be Raymond Stross's last production. After her husband's 1988 death, Heywood retired from acting and, in 1991, she married former New York Assistant Attorney General George Danzig Druke. They currently live in southern California.

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filmography

FILM
Memories of Manon (1988) with Edward Woodward, Melissa Sue Anderson, Robert Lansing, and Anthony Zerbe
What Waits Below (1984) with Robert Powell, Timothy Bottoms, Lisa Blount, and Richard Johnson
Sadat (1983) with Louis Gossett Jr. and John Rhys-Davies
Ring of Darkness aka Satan's Wife (1979) with Valentina Cortese, Frank Finlay, John Phillip Law, Marisa Mell, and Irene Papas
Good Luck, Miss Wyckoff (1979) with Donald Pleasence, Robert Vaughn, Earl Holliman, Carolyn Jones, Ronee Blakley, Dorothy Malone, Doris Roberts, Jocelyn Brando, R.G. Armstrong, and Dana Elcar
Love Under the Elms (1975) with Mark Lester
Trader Horn (1973) with Rod Taylor and Jean Sorel
The Nun and the Devil (1973) with Luc Merenda
The Killer Is On the Phone (1972) with Telly Savalas
I Want What I Want (1972) with Harry Andrews and Michael Coles
The Chairman (1969) with Gregory Peck, Arthur Hill, and Keye Luke
Midas Run (1969) with Richard Crenna, Fred Astaire, Ralph Richardson, Cesar Romero, Adolfo Celi, and Jacques Sernas
The Lady of Monza (1969) with Hardy Krüger, Antonio Sabato, and Rita Calderoni
The Fox (1967) with Sandy Dennis and Keir Dullea
Ninety Degrees in the Shade (1965) with James Booth and Ann Todd
The Very Edge (1963) with Richard Todd, Nicole Maurey, and Jeremy Brett
Stork Talk (1962) with Tony Britton
The Brain (1962) with Peter van Eyck and Bernard Lee
Petticoat Pirates (1961) with Charlie Drake, Cecil Parker, and John Turner
The Night Fighters (1960) with Robert Mitchum, Richard Harris, Dan O'Herlihy, and Cyril Cusack
Carthage in Flames (1960) with Pierre Brasseur and Terence Hill
Upstairs and Downstairs (1959) with Michael Craig, Mylène Demongeot, and Claudia Cardinale
The Heart of a Man (1959) with Frankie Vaughan, Tony Britton, and Anthony Newley
Floods of Fear (1958) with Howard Keel and Cyril Cusack
Violent Playground (1958) with Stanley Baker, David McCallum, and Peter Cushing
Dangerous Exile (1957) with Louis Jourdan and Martita Hunt
The Depraved (1957) with Robert Arden
Doctor at Large (1957) with Dirk Bogarde and Shirley Eaton
Checkpoint (1956) with Anthony Steel, Stanley Baker, and Lee Patterson
Find the Lady (1956) with Donald Houston and Mervyn Johns
Bikini Baby (1951) with Dennis Price, Diana Dors, and Kay Kendall

TELEVISION GUEST APPEARANCES
Ohara, episode Last Year's Model, originally aired March 12, 1988
The Equalizer, episode The Mystery of Manon: Parts 1 and 2, originally aired February 17 and 24, 1988
Off to See the Wizard, episode High Jungle, originally aired March 12, 1988

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Watch Anne Heywood's 1963 thriller The Very Edge
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This page premiered March 8, 2019.
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