"Carry On Screaming" Actress Fenella Fielding Is Dead At 90 After Suffering A Stroke
Notable comic and actress Fenella Fielding who is best known for her performance in the “Carry On” films is dead. The sad incident occurred on September 11, 2018. She was 90 years old. Just two weeks ago the veteran actress suffered a severe stroke.
Born Fenella Marion Feldman in London, England, Fielding was the quintessential maneater on television. Her wild red-lipstick wearing character in “Carry On Screaming” defined public opinion of her for decades, despite the fact she refused to be in subsequent “Carry On” films.
Fielding had a troubled childhood and often recalled how her father would beat her. To make matters worse, Fielding said her mother even encouraged the beatings and egged her husband on. Eventually, she reported to the police and had to leave home as her parents did not support her quest to study acting.
She always wanted to be an actress
Later on, Fielding won a two-year scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. However, her good luck did not last long. Fielding’s mother would visit the school at lunchtime and make disparaging remarks about the students. Eventually, the school withdrew Fielding’s scholarship funding.
Fielding would not take no for an answer and told her father she wanted to study at the university but he said, "rather see her dead at his feet." She took 70 aspirin in a suicide attempt but changed her mind at the last minute and induced vomiting.
In 1952, she scored a role in an amateur production at the London School of Economics. Her co-star Ron Moody encouraged her to take acting seriously. Fielding was concerned about her age and late start in the industry so she shaved off seven years off her real age.
Soon, she began to gain attention and got cast in "Pieces of Eight", a live comedy revue starring alongside Kenneth Williams. Her relationship with the more recognized actor was not pleasant, to say the least. Fielding said he was quite insecure and kept suggesting she was trying to upstage him. He intentionally set her up to fail during their time together, but she learned to stand her ground.
A star like none other
By 1960, Fielding had attained star status. Vidal Sassoon, personally, did her hair, she would hang out with artist Francis Bacon and even worked with Dirk Bogarde in “Doctor in Love” and Tony Curtis in “Arrivederci, Baby!” Fielding’s most memorable performance was as Valeria in ‘Carry on Screaming.” While her costume and makeup are unforgettable, this short scene and her epic line, "Do you mind if I smoke?", cemented her place in movie history.
Fielding was a one-take-wonder and in this film like most others, she never shot a scene more than once. Her career slowed down considerably after this movie but she continued to work as a voice actor and on stage for the later years of her life. Millions of Valeria fans around the world are still reeling in the shock of her death. The late Fielding will forever be remembered for her seductive charm and stellar performances.