Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Yutte Stensgaard (*May 14, 1946)

Yutte Stensgaard is a bit of a one hit wonder. Her main claim to fame is the main part in Hammer’s second Karnstein movie, Lust for a Vampire, but what a part that is! Although the film has generally been reviled, it is well worth checking out for its cheese factor alone. The photo of a nude, blood soaked Stensgaard rising out of a coffin has rightly become an iconic image.

Lust was the highlight of her short movie career but Stensgaard also has some other films well worth watching. Her part in Tigon’s so dreadfully awful, you may as well enjoy it Zeta One can arguably also be considered a leading role for which she may not have given but sure showed everything.

Any excuse is a good excuse to (re)watch Scream and Scream Again, so even though she may only have a tiny part in it (some of her scenes ended up being cut out of the finished movie), her torture scenes remain a memorable part in a very off beat movie.

Her last movie role was in Burke and Hare but for mainstream TV viewers of a certain generation she may best be known for her subsequent 24-week stunt as a hostess for The Golden Shot, a UK game show. And let’s also not forget her guest roles in TV series such as The Saint, Jason King or The Persuaders.

She appeared in a Christmas panto in 1970 in RED RIDING HOOD and re-appeared again in theatre in 1971 for a production of the comedy BOEING, BOEING.

Yutte Stensgaard was born Jytte Stensgaard in Denmark. She moved to Swinging London at the age of 19 to become a stenographer and then did the usual round of au pair and modelling jobs before being discovered as a budding actress. It probably didn’t hurt to be married to Amicus Art Director Tony Curtis – no, not *the* Tony Curtis (although she was later to act alongside *that* one) - who was the son of her acting teacher. After the marriage failed she was involved with lyricist Leslie Bricusse (Goldfinger, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory) – who had temporarily split up from wife Yvonne Romain  - and married to NBC Executive and Producer John Kerwin.

Although that marriage would also ultimately fail, it was instrumental in Stensgaard’s move to the US. There for years she kept a relatively low profile and became a Born Again Christian. She is now the successful National Account Director for Premiere Radio Networks, one of the largest radio networks in the US and home to the likes of Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, owns several pieces of property and is an active supporter of the Republican Party.

After being MIA for a considerable numbers of years, Stensgaard was rediscovered by chance in 1988 in Los Angeles when she walked into (Little Shoppe of Horrors correspondent’s) Gary Smith’s travel agency. She initially was very uncomfortable combining her previous modelling career and nude shots with her strong Christian beliefs and refused to talk about her past life. Lately, however, she appears to have been more relaxed about it and even started attending conventions where she is surrounded by fans grateful to discover the re-appearance of one of Hammer’s most seminal Glamour Starlets.

3 comments:

Michael Williams said...

Great biographical piece. I grew up staring at the blood-soaked Lust for Vampire shot, wondering what the heck was going on and could I really see her nipples. It is great to get to know a bit about the actress and her personal life.

I am over-joyed to hear she has become a Christian. Thank you for sharing this with us.

Mirko di Wallenberg said...

Tim Lucas' Video Watchdog did an excellent interview with her in March 2005 issue 117! A must read for all fans!
http://www.videowatchdog.com/home/HTM/117.htm

Nicolas Barbano said...

Thanks Mirko, for your kind words about my VW-interview with Jytte Stensgaard! It took me several years to track her down, but it was worth it. You might also want to read Tim Greaves' fanzine publications "Yutte Stensgaard: A Pictorial Souvenir" (1992) and "Yutte Stensgaard: Memories of a Vampire" (1993).