The Writings of Ingrid Pitt

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Ingrid's Obituary


The Omegans

How Ingrid came to be filming 'The Omegans' in the Philippines.

On Location

I was nurtured on stories like that of the fifties sex bomb, Christine Norton, being discovered in a queue for fish and chips (or was it a bus queue?) by movie mogul Alexander Korda. And Louis B Mayer contracting Virginia Mayo by mistake. Then there was Lana Turner, sweatered out and perched on a Drug Store stool, knocking back a Strawberry Sundae, when top film director, Mervyn Le Roy, just happened to pop in for a Knickerbocker Glory and signed her up on the spot. I was discovered for the international film market working in a diner in LA. And it happened like this.

I was living in Madrid. I hadn't exactly called down balls of fire but I wasn't doing too badly. I had made a few films, Un Beso en el Puerto, La Sonido Prehistorico, Los Duendes de Andalucia etc and fronted a TV show called Aqui Espana. I was also moonlighting on any film that was exciting a camera shutter out at Almeria. I was doing anything from crowd work to some rather risky stunt work. It wasn't forwarding my career much but the money was good and the living easy. I had become friendly with a journalist, Mike Stern, who had helped me get started and had done some half way decent interviews with me. When he asked me if I was interested in going to Hollywood I jumped all over him. Was he mad? He told me that he had a contact at one of the major studios who would like to see me. My mouth said yes before I could think it through. Luckily I had a nanny who looked after my daughter while I was working so there was no problem there. A couple of days later I had a first class, one way, air ticket delivered and was booked into the luxurious Beverley Hills Hotel. I should have known it was all too easy. But I've always been dumb.

Grub up. On location in Pagsanhan - The Philippines

A limo was waiting for me at the airport and I was ushered into one of the garden sheds at the Beverley. I skipped around making little squeaky noises to let myself know that I had it made. When I calmed down a bit I decided to put my clothes away in one of the big wardrobes. Shock number one. The wardrobe was full of men's clothes. I should have twigged. But instead I phoned the Housekeeper and told her of my mystifying discovery. She was also mystified. By my stupidity. The apparel was apparently the property of the bloke who was supposed to do the screen test for me.

I must say at this point I began to get an inkling that maybe my absent benefactor might be interested in attributes other than my thespian qualities. So I sat on the bed and considered my next move. I wasn't particularly averse to a romantic weekend away but I hate being conned. I phoned the studio. More mystification. They could find no reference to me or a planned screen test. I had just about made up my mind to move on when this little sun dried dwarf dripping in gold jewellery appeared. The thought flashed across my mind that he couldn't put in many hours a day at the coal face - he had to spend all his time having his face waxed and polished, tanned and stretched over poles. That was when he wasn't sorting through the gold tray at Tiffany's that is. He got up my nose right from the start. He swept in as if he owned the place and me. He may have owned the place but I wasn't having any. He couldn't believe my hostility. But I was running hot. I demanded to know when I was having my screen test and what part I was up for. He looked suitably dumbfounded and couldn't think too well on his feet. While he mumbled I got a good head of steam going. He confessed that he hadn't anything in mind particularly - just thought it would be great if we got to know each other. I came over all virginal and acted like Lilian Gish being menaced by Sir Jasper. Upshot was he collected his clothes and left. He said I could stay until the end of the week and then I was on my own. It wasn't until he had gone that I realised I hadn't even the fare to go home.

Ingrid Pitt

I sat and worried about what I should do all night. I only came up with half an answer. I rang the bloke who was the author of my present position. Mike Stern. He wasn't too happy and protested that he had no idea what he was sending me into. The same excuse the Arab slavers used to make. I wasn't interested in making enemies so I turned on the waterworks and asked him what I should do. His solution was that I should see a friend of his and tell him I needed a favour. It wasn't the solution I was looking for but by Saturday it was the only one I had come up with so I packed and spent my remaining funds on a taxi. The friend, Rudi Husso, turned out to be more camp than Brownsea Island and I was grateful. He also happened to be the owner of an eatery. I emptied the tear ducts all over his pink ruffled shirt and he not only offered me a job behind the counter but a back bedroom over the shop.

It was hard work but I figured that in about two months I would have enough dollars to buy a ticket back to Spain. To show my gratitude I started cooking my father's favourite plum cake. It sold well. Then one day this short guy with a face like a weathered garden gnome and glasses walked in. He took a mouthful of my plum cake and became an addict. He introduced himself as Willy. We chatted about the usual stuff. What an incredible actress I was, how famous, how beautiful. How I was just doing the skivvy bit for experience. He told me about his famous relatives and how he was a producer and all the films he was setting up. Twin souls. I liked him and looked forward to his popping in for a chat and waffle. I assumed his level of bullshit was on a par with mine.Then one day he dropped in and after a bite at the cake suggested that I might like to star in his latest extravaganza. I was really sad. The game we were playing was great. It bolstered up my flagging ego and I had assumed that it had done the same for his. Now he was going to spoil it. I let him know I didn't think it was funny. He insisted. He took the game to an even crueller level. He said that the film was being shot in the Philippines almost immediately. In fact most of the crew were out there already. He said he would give me an air ticket to Manila via Madrid so that I could go home, sort things out, see Steffie and then hop a plane to the East. I was so pissed off! What did he think I was? Some sort of idiot? I had told him about my coming to LA for a 'screen test'. Was he hoping to carry on where the other guy had failed?

With Willy Wilder

Willy didn't push the point. Just said he would be back with the tickets and contract later. I told Rudi what had happened. He looked surprised that I was so upset. Did I know who I had been talking to? Willy Wilder! The brother of Billy - SUNSET BOULEVARD, STALAG 17 etc. - and a producer of a string of odd ball films. I couldn't believe it and spent the next couple of hours in a state of shock. Had I severely pissed Willy off? Was he even now ringing around trying to find another leading lady? I nearly fainted with joy when he finally appeared with a brown envelope and instructions to leave for Madrid immediately.

The Philippines was magic. I was offered a hotel or - a houseboat on the river. I chose the romantic houseboat. First morning, when I went on deck, I stumbled over a man sleeping outside my door cuddling a rifle. A fan? He explained that head hunting was still a favoured sport in some places and my blond locks on a pole would be a prized asset. Another problem with the boat was the rain. When it rains in the Philippines it's like standing under a power shower without the protection of a shower cap. In a couple of days everything was soggy. But I didn't care. We moved into the mountains and I let the whole adventure take over.

Waterfall where the Omegans Live

The story line was that this flighty piece, me, was married to an old but rich artist. He isn't too happy when he finds out that she is having it off with the bloke who looks after his estate. Wife and manager have their frolics in an idyllic pool under a water fall. At night mysterious lights are seen in the water but nobody is particularly fazed by this. Only hubby knows they are cause by some strange fluorescent water creatures which live there. And he ain't telling. Gradually the sinning pair begin to fade away. Before long they have aged beyond recognition. Hubby refuses to get medical help and they die. That was the film part. The real horror came after the scenes in the pool. When I came out I was covered in leeches. Assistant director Cabrera was always there, a cigarette glowing, to whip off my swim suit and burn off the evil little buggers.

It was a cheapo movie but done quite beautifully. It still gets an airing on Canal Plus and in the States occasionally. Willy was wonderful. Never once tried to exact payment in kind for getting me out from behind the counter. What it taught me was that luck has a great deal to do with what falls your way - but when it hits you have to grab it before it wriggles off onto someone else.

The Writings of Ingrid Pitt