❉ Born in 1927, there was no one else like Fenella Fielding. The actress passed away on 11 September 2018, after a recent stroke.
Fenella Fielding is best known for her 1960s film appearances in classic comedies including Carry On Screaming, Doctor in Clover and Carry On Regardless. She was also the voice of the Blue Queen in Dougal and the Blue Cat and the voice of The Village in cult classic The Prisoner.
Her illustrious career in theatre included the title roles in Hedda Gabler and Colette.
Last year, the Daily Express wrote:
“Despite being largely remembered for her improbable poshness and comedic seductions in Carry On films and Doctor In Clover, Fenella mixed the froth with heavyweight plays by Ibsen, Shakespeare, Chekhov and Henry James.
One critic described her Hedda Gabler, in which she co-starred with Sir Ian McKellan, as “one of the experiences of a lifetime.”
In the Telegraph’s obituary, Ben Lawrence notes:
“The producer David Britton had been impressed by Fielding’s voice and its “subtext of menace”. There is a sense with this literary work that Fielding was fulfilling her intellectual ambitions – after all she had a reputation of holding her own with such clubbable thinkers of the day as the impresario Henry Donaldson and the journalist Jeffrey Bernard, with whom she had an affair.”
Writing in The Independent in 2008, Robert Chalmers said:
“One of the mysteries of British life [is] that Fenella Fielding whose wit and distinctive stage presence captivated figures such as Kenneth Tynan, Noel Coward and Federico Fellini, should have drifted into obscurity rather than being celebrated.”
In the early 1980s, she recorded a series of alternative rock covers for Savoy Records, of which the legendary music scenester Kim Fowley said:
“Her Succulent/Velvet-Blue-Saloon vocal tones made me believe I was having Naked Lunch in a Berlin bubble-bath, next to Marlene Dietrich… Somewhere in Berlin, circa 1928–1932.”
Of the infamous Savoy Sessions, in 2008 The Independent reported:
“The actress is less impressed, to the point that she does not want the CD, which has a predominantly electronic, late-1980s techno feel, to be released. Fielding’s agent told me he was “not at all happy” to discover I’d been sent a final mix of the album.”
One of her last public appearances was at the ‘Prisoner At 50’ event at Portmeirion last year, where Robert Fairclough reported:
“Now an astonishing 90, she’d been invited to the site to punctuate the day with broadcasts about what was happening. Her first pronouncement took place below Number 2’s house “the Green Dome” (which now isn’t green and is really called the Pantheon) in front of an expectant audience – the Voice of the Village, in the Village, for goodness sake! – and earned a well-deserved round of applause.”
On Twitter, the tributes came thick and fast shortly after the news of her passing:
Talking Pictures TV has heard the legendary actress Fenella Fielding has died. Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this sad time. Rest in peace. pic.twitter.com/aEiA4W21Go
— Talking Pictures TV (@TalkingPicsTV) September 11, 2018
Talking to Kenneth Williams on the set of Carry On Screaming in 1966:
"Why is your bum so hard Kenny, do you leave it out at night?"
Remembering with a huge smile the wonderful actress, with the voice like liquid velvet, Fenella Fielding OBE, who has passed away aged 90. pic.twitter.com/ezpwlzDK7b
— Morris Bright MBE (@Morris__Bright) September 11, 2018
Sad to hear the news this evening that the wonderful Fenella Fielding has passed away.
That velvet voice will be much missed but we'll always have her fabulous performances to remember her by, from The Avengers to Carry On.
— Art & Hue (@ARTandHUE) September 11, 2018
RIP Fenella Fielding OBE, she terrified me as a kid in ‘Uncle Jack’ on Children’s BBC, but was utterly delightful when I met her on two occasions. ‘What is your darling name?’ 🌟 pic.twitter.com/LcMQ0C2ajW
— robbie dunlop (@robdunlop1984) September 11, 2018
RIP Fenella Fielding. Another icon from the 20th Century gone. I know it's become fashionable to mourn every famous person's death on social media but I've genuinely loved her since watching Carry On Screaming as a kid. She was gorgeous, smart, funny and a true British eccentric. pic.twitter.com/guWEF6s2Di
— Paris Lees (@parislees) September 11, 2018
Deeply saddened at the loss of another acting great. Fenella Fielding was so much more than a vamp or scream Queen. A lovely lady she will be sadly missed. A British great – as in Carry On Screaming she was always "smoking" pic.twitter.com/bMbCslLvoN
— Kensington Gore (@Kensington_Gore) September 11, 2018
Oh no, not Fenella Fielding as well. Bad week for the remaining Carry On stars. Screaming was always my favourite and she was brilliant in it. Can someone check on Oddbod junior?
— Richard K Herring (@Herring1967) September 11, 2018
"Do you mind if I smoke?"
We're sad to hear that Fenella Fielding OBE died today, aged 90. pic.twitter.com/BD6m6KvleR
— BritishComedySociety (@BritComSociety) September 11, 2018
My learned friend Graeme covers it. Safe travels…x https://t.co/q8gZJTVbJR
— Robert Ross (@RobertWRossEsq) September 11, 2018
In a statement, a spokeswoman said:
“We are very sad to announce that Fenella Fielding OBE passed away this afternoon on Tuesday 11 September.
“This follows a severe stroke two weeks ago. During that time, she has been very comfortable and always looked tranquil and divine. And always wearing her eyelashes!
“Miss Fielding was an incredible talent. That voice! A unique woman, much loved by family, friends and fans. She will be missed tremendously.”
Here at We Are Cult, we mourn the passing of this truly iconic British star and are thankful for the endless pleasure she contributed to the worlds of radio, stage and screen.
❉ Fenella Fielding: 17 November 1927 -11 September 2018 (aged 90)