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Lee Remick

The Omen_Lee Remick_bannerLee Ann Remick (December 14, 1935 – July 2, 1991) was an American film and television actress. Among her best-known films are Anatomy of a Murder (1959), Days of Wine and Roses (1962), and The Omen (1976).

The Omen_Lee RemickRemick was born in Quincy, Massachusetts, the daughter of Gertrude Margaret (née Waldo), an actress, and Francis Edwin “Frank” Remick, who owned a department store. Remick attended the Swaboda School of Dance, The Hewitt School and studied acting at Barnard College and the Actors Studio, making her Broadway theatre debut in 1953 with Be Your Age.

Remick made her film debut in Elia Kazan’s A Face in the Crowd (1957). After appearing as Eula Varner, the hot-blooded daughter-in-law of Will Varner (Orson Welles) in 1958’s The Long, Hot Summer, she appeared in These Thousand Hills as a dance hall girl. However, Remick came to prominence as a rape victim whose husband is tried for killing her attacker in Otto Preminger’s classic Anatomy of a Murder. She made a second film with Elia Kazan called Wild River (1960).

THE OMEN GALLERY 200In 1962, she starred in the Blake Edwards suspense-thriller Experiment in Terror. That same year she was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actress for her performance as the alcoholic wife of Jack Lemmon in Days of Wine and Roses. 

Remick received a Tony Award nomination in 1966 for her role as a blind woman terrorized by drug smugglers in the thriller Wait Until Dark. She featured in some poor movies for the next few years until she co-starred with Gregory Peck in the 1976 horror film The Omen, in which her character’s adopted son, Damien, is revealed to be the Anti-Christ. The American/British suspense horror film was directed by Richard Donner and also featured David Warner, Billie Whitelaw, Patrick Troughton and Leo McKern. Scripted by David Seltzer, who also wrote the novel, it is the first in The Omen series of films, which only became a trilogy when the script’s original ending was changed (and of course the huge box-office take), from Robert Thorn succeeding in killing Damien. Apparently the studio head Alan Ladd, Jr. and the Richard Donner refused to conclude the film with that ending, so Seltzer altered the script to the ending which was filmed with Robert Thorn being shot by the police and Damien surviving.

The Omen_Gregory Peck_Lee RemickThere are of course numerous urban legends surrounding the film, a series of events happened during the making of “The Omen” (October 1975 to January 1976) that caused some speculation as to whether or not the film was “cursed”.

Separate flights for both actor Gregory Peck and executive producer Mace Neufeld were struck by lightning when flying between the USA and England, and producer Harvey Bernhard was barely missed by a lightning bolt in Rome. A restaurant that Neufeld and Peck were to eat at in England was bombed by the IRA.

The Omen_Lee Remick_Gregory PeckA plane hired by the studio to take aerial shots in Israel was switched at the last moment by the airline, and the clients who took the original plane were all killed when it crashed on takeoff. Some time later, a zookeeper who was helping the studio with handling animals was attacked and eaten alive by lions.

And the best one… On Friday, August 13, 1976, special effects artist John Richardson got into an accident in Holland while working on A Bridge Too Far, right after work on The Omen was done. Less than a year after designing the deaths for The Omen, Richardson’s car was involved in a major accident which killed and decapitated his female companion, in a way similar to David Warner’s death in The Omen. It is rumored that upon stumbling out of his car he saw a road sign that said he was 66.6 kilometers from the town of Ommen.

The Omen_posterShe featured in the Don Siegel directed action film Telefon (1977), with Charles Bronson; and The Medusa Touch a 1978 British supernatural thriller directed by Jack Gold, starring Richard Burton.

Remick later appeared in several made-for-TV movies or miniseries (for which she earned seven Emmy nominations). Most were of a historical nature, including two noted miniseries: Ike, in which she portrayed Kay Summersby, alongside Robert Duvall as General Dwight Eisenhower, and Jennie: Lady Randolph Churchill where she portrayed Winston Churchill’s mother.

In 1990, she was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award. Remick died on July 2, 1991, at the age of 55, at her home in Los Angeles of kidney and liver cancer.

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