The Writings of Ingrid Pitt

A Collection of Writings

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Battle of Britain

Biography

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History

Horror

Motor Racing

Murder

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Pitt of Horror

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Winston Churchill

World War 2

Ingrid's Obituary


Life's a Scream

The Autobiography of Ingrid Pitt
Life's A Scream

Famous for her starring roles in Hammer House of Horror classics such as The Vampire Lovers, Ingrid Pitt bacame an international cult icon.

In her autobiography she reveals not only the memoirs of a fascinating acting career, but a dramatic and compelling life story including...

  • her experience of a Nazi concentration camp at the age of five and the holocaust memories that continue to haunt her
  • her decision to become an actress at the age of fifteen and a terrifying escape from Berlin on the night of her planned stage debut
  • her launch as a Spanish film star (despite speaking little Spanish) leading to a role in Where Eagles Dare with Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood
  • friendship with General and Isabel Peron, and how she came to spend an evening with the embalmed body of Eva Peron
  • her brave and successful battle against breast cancer
  • sixteen pages of photographs from her personal collection

Life's A Scream is the story of a remarkable woman who suffered much, but rejoiced even more. Full of wit and warmth, of amusing star-filled tales and personal demons and triumphs, it will appeal not only to Ingrid's film fans, but to anyone who loves a passionate survivor.

Hardback.
Publisher:
William Heinemann
ISBN: 0-434-00762-5

Also available as an audio book, and in a revised and expanded version titled 'Darkness Before Dawn.

Extracts from: LIFE'S A SCREAM

(Extract Chapter 2)

Darkness Before Dawn

The guards gave their dogs a bit of slack to help the lazy 'Yids' to get a move on. Huge black shapes jostled and pushed at me. I was too terrified even to whimper. My hand was welded to my mother's but it didn't seem to help. I wanted to run away somewhere, anywhere. For a moment I was out of the crowding figures and in the glaring light - and that was even worse. The shouting and crying was horrendous. Everyone was running, stumbling. A number of times I would have fallen and been ground into mincemeat underfoot if it hadn't been for my mother's strong hand. I was crying now and, in my fear, trying to sit down. My mother knew something I didn't and wasn't allowing me to give way to my terror. And I wasn't her only concern. My father's head was bleeding again and in spite of his determination to keep on his feet it was touch and go whether he would make it to wherever we were headed. A couple of times we found ourselves on the outside of the bustling crowd. Even I knew it wasn't a good place to be. There were men in daunting black uniforms with sticks and dogs with sharp teeth.

(Extract Chapter 14)

Everyone craned forward to see what was happening. A young, good-looking man was holding a grey mouse by its tail, displaying it for everyone to see. I forced myself to watch. Someone banged on a tin plate and the show began. The man held the wiggling mouse high above his head and slowly lowered it into his mouth. Everybody was shouting and laughing. The poor mouse seemed to know what was coming and made a last desperate effort to get away. Too late. The man put it in his mouth and then walked around the yelling audience with the wriggling tail hanging out. I felt ill. Seeing the effect he was having on me the young man turned to give me the finale. The tail disappeared as the mouse slid down into his stomach. That did it for me. I puked all over his boots.

(Extract Chapter 20)

I was still trying to get my mind around the fact that I had just shaken hands with one of my all-time favourite film stars, John Wayne. The boys settled down in their seats and made room for Ralph (Meeker), who seemed to have forgotten me. I was feeling awful. Not only did I have the flu, I was being overlooked. I found myself relegated to the sideboard to pour drinks, while the Duke exacerbated my irritation by referring to me as 'little lady'. I wasn't anyone's 'little lady' and I was grumpy enough to want to prove it. So, after serving drinks for the umpteenth time, I slumped into a vacant chair next to Yakima (Canutt) and demanded in. They were all a little surprised, but then so was I. The only poker I'd played had been on the set of Dundee (and the Calhane) while we were waiting to be called and Ralph had been bored enough to teach me the rudiments of the game. As I waited for my cards I could see that the Duke wasn't particularly happy about the 'little lady' not knowing her place and guessed that Ralph might be in for a man-to-man later. We were playing for table stakes and I didn't want it to appear as if I were on the breadline so every dollar I had was in front of me. But not for long. I tried desperately to remember what Ralph had told me about not 'chasing bullets' or 'filling holes' but still I lost. All the pressure wasn't doing my headache any favours and it had shifted gear to migraine. I felt sick and had difficulty seeing the cards. While Ralph and the other men ignored me, Yak made sympathetic sounds as I slid towards bankruptcy. After a while he excused himself and went out to water the sage brush. When he returned I was sitting with a pair of fours and another in the hole. Yak stopped behind my chair and gave me an encouraging nod as two other players jacked......

(Extract Chapter 22)

Time also hung heavily on Clint Eastwood's hands. He was used to television series and Spaghetti Westerns, which were shot at high speed. Clint hated the days hanging around for a thirty-second set-up. One of the reasons he had taken on the film was that he wanted to get a British motor cycle. Elliott Kastner had promised him his pick. Clint had kept his twitching foot off the kick-start so far, but twiddling his thumbs on set he could resist no longer. I wasn't mad about bikes but who could resist an offer of a ride with Clint Eastwood? We took a few turns around the parking lot and then, one day, convinced that I was as nutty about motor bikes as he was, Clint rang me at the Hilton. 'Hey, dove, fancy a ride around a circuit?' he asked. I agreed before I could think about it. While I dressed I mulled over the word 'circuit'. I soon found out what he meant. Clint had discovered that you could take your own bike around the circuit at Brands Hatch. He was excited. I was trying to think of a way out. Clint did a few exploratory laps, then came back to the pits. Resignedly I swung my leg over the saddle and was struggling to put on my helmet when my prayers were answered. Elliott Kastner stormed up to us in a fury. He ranted on about insurance while Clint unsuccessfully smothered an enormous grin. Kastner then turned on me and accused me of leading Clint astray while behind him Clint gave me a cheeky smile and continued to act like a naughty schoolboy.

The Writings of Ingrid Pitt