The English actress Susannah York has left us too soon at age 72, another loss to cancer. She never stopped working but her best known film roles were probably 1966’s “A Man for All Seasons,” an Oscar-nominated turn in Sydney Pollack’s pitch-black 1968 drama, “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?,” and a film I have no clue why I’ve never seen, Robert Aldrich’s 1969 “The Killing of Sister George.” That production was dogged by controversy around the depiction of lesbian sex, a huge taboo just a few years after the abolition of the movie production code.
She was also an anti-nuclear activist back when the topic was truly a matter of planetary life and death and vastly more controversial than it is now. Notably, she championed jailed Israeli nuclear technician Mordechai Vanunu, whose opposition to nuclear proliferation caused him to expose his nation’s nuclear weapons program. Also, for you geeks out there, she played Superman’s mom in the 1970s films and wrote a pair of fantasy novels as well.
I strongly suggest you read the entire fascinating and informative summary of the ‘net reaction to York’s passing at MUBI.
I stumbled over this film festival tribute online. It’s a little heavy on the music, but it gives us some sense of the woman — who I gather was a real trooper in every sense of the word — and of her work.