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Lynne Frederick Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trade Mark (4) | Trivia (27) | Personal Quotes (14)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 25 July 1954Hillingdon, Middlesex, England, UK
Date of Death 27 April 1994Los Angeles, California, USA  (effects of alcoholism)
Birth NameLynne Maria Frederick
Nicknames Lynnie
English Rose
Lynne Sellers
Sellers Widow
Lynn Frederick
Height 5' 2½" (1.59 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Lynne Frederick was a promising and ascending British actress of the 1970s. For ten years she captivated movie goers with her perfect combination of girl next door beauty, an angelic smile, an ethereal charm, and a classic fairy tale princess look that was all put into one gifted package. Although best remembered as the fourth and final wife of British comedian, Peter Sellers, Frederick has started gaining a cult following in recent years. Before there was Kate Winslet and Emma Watson, there was Lynne Frederick; the original English Rose.

Lynne Wagner Harding Frederick was born in Hillingdon, Uxbridge, United Kingdom to Iris and Andrew Frederick on July 25, 1954. Frederick's father walked out of her life when she was no more than two years of age and she was raised by her grandmother and mother, who worked for Thames Television. Growing up Lynne attended Notting Hill and Ealing High School, and originally intended to become a teacher of physics and mathematics with no intentions of working in Hollywood. In much the same manner as Marilyn Monroe and Lana Turner, Frederick was plucked from obscurity when she met film director, Cornel Wilde, at Thames Television Studio as she was posing for some color camera test shots. Wilde was immediately smitten by Lynne's youthful and dramatic beauty, and after interviewing hundreds of girls, decided that Lynne would be perfect for his up and coming film project. The next day, while she was at school preparing for her Latin exams, she had received a phone call from her mother stating that Wilde wanted her for his film and that she had two hours to decide if she wanted to take the role and leave school to peruse an acting career. After much thought and consideration, she had decided to take a shot at the chance of a lifetime and accepted the role. Despite no previous experience (in theater, commercials, or films) she got her very first acting job at her first audition.

Her debut role came in the 1970 British-American apocalyptic science fiction film, No Blade of Grass (1970). Her next, and more prestigious role, came as Tsar Nicholas's second eldest daughter, Tatiana, in the 1971 Oscar winning British biographical film, Nicholas and Alexandra (1971). In her next film, Henry VIII and His Six Wives (1972), she played another royal figure, the ill-fated fifth wife of Henry VIII, Catherine Howard. Her adaptation as Howard made Tudor cinema history as Frederick was the first actress to portray Howard in a historically accurate and sympathetic point of view.

She continued in films with a supporting role in the now cult film, Vampire Circus (1972). Her most well-known screen role came in the 1972 family film, The Amazing Mr. Blunden (1972). For this role she garnered the very first London Evening Standard British Film Award for 'Best New coming Actress'. She followed in films with the 1974 science fiction thriller, Phase IV (1974), for which she was required to appropriate an American accent. Although not a success during its initial release, Phase IV gained a cult following in the years that followed due to its airings on late night television.

Frederick co-starred with the Italian Casanovian actor, Fabio Testi, in two films back-to-back as his love interest. The first was the very graphic Italian spaghetti western The Four of the Apocalypse... (1975) which was followed by Red Coat (1975). Frederick then starred in two romantic Spanish films, El vicio y la virtud (1975) and Largo retorno (1975). But her acting credits were not limited to just movies. She also had a long running television career starring in various shows and films made for television. Frederick returned to the horror film scene with her leading role in the 1976 slasher film Schizo (1976). A year later she married fellow actor, Peter Sellers, and would make her final theatrical role alongside him in The Prisoner of Zenda (1979).

Lynne Frederick and Peter Sellers relationship was good in the early stages but eventually turned destructive and tempestuous. Their marriage was often tampered with rumors of Frederick being a gold digger, drug use by both parties, and Sellers health issues. Much public scrutiny fell upon Frederick for marrying the much older Sellers, and she often became the target for negative press and tabloids. Further controversy followed after Sellers tragic death on July 24, 1980 (one day before Fredericks twenty sixth birthday) when Frederick was named the beneficiary of nearly his entire will and estate while his children (whom Sellers had never gotten along with and had been estranged from for many years) had gotten hardly anything. Despite pleas from Sellers friends, Frederick did not give Sellers children any further settlements due to her rocky relationship with them.

It was then that the whole British public and film industry turned against Frederick, and she was no longer able to find work in Hollywood. Despite the blacklisting that followed Sellers death, Frederick was very protective of his name and reputation. She even won £1 million in a lawsuit against the makers of the Trail of the Pink Panther (1982), a film of Sellers released posthumously, claiming the film tarnished her late husband's memory. Frederick further added to the controversy when she remarried to British media personality, David Frost, six months after Sellers death. The marriage ended in divorce after seventeen months.

Following her divorce from Frost, Frederick fled from Britain to America where she met surgeon and heart specialist, Barry Unger, whom she married on Christmas Day in 1982. The following year Frederick bore her only child, Cassie Unger, whom she had a very close relationship with. Her marriage to Unger ended in divorce in 1991. In the later years of her life, Frederick resided in Los Angeles, California where she lived in a spacious house with her daughter, whom she had joint custody of, and they spent most of their days hanging out by the family pool or cooking meals together.

In the final years of her life, Lynne Frederick's health spiraled downward as she struggled with alcoholism and bouts of depression. Rumors of chronic drug addiction, clinical depression, failed rehab treatments, and suicide attempts where common news and tabloid reports of Frederick in the later years. The wear and tear of the struggles in life took an obvious tole on her appearance as her weight ballooned, her face became sunken and bloated, and her hair now cropped short and vitiated. Rumor has it that when the paparazzi stood outside her house attempting to get photos of Frederick, there where several occasions where she would walk past them unnoticed as the photographers did not recognize her drastically different appearance in contrast to that of the beautiful English rose that once stole the scenes of films she starred in.

On the morning of April 27, 1994, Frederick's lifeless body was discovered by her mother, Iris, in her home. Immediately following Frederick's death, the media engaged in a firestorm of negative press accusing Frederick of being an alcoholic and cocaine addict. They even went as far as reporting her cause of death due to cocaine and alcohol binging. Although the exact cause of Frederick's death has never been disclosed to the public, the common belief is that she died of alcoholism. A year after Frederick's death, her mother revealed in an interview with 'Hello Magazine' that her daughters death had been brought about by natural causes due to a seizure in her sleep, although this has been disputed by some people.

For many years, Lynne Frederick's legacy remained poisoned and she was seldom ever talked about. But in recent years, her films have resurfaced to a new generation of cinema buffs where she has been given a whole new fan base and cult following. Although she may not be remembered as a superstar or big name in Hollywood, her heartbreaking good looks, glowing beauty, and the riveting appeal in her lively yet soft essence holds an enduring fascination to the community of cinema fans. She is an emblem of beauty that was here for a moment, and then disappeared forever in the harsh world of show business.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Foster Hitchman

Spouse (3)

Barry S. Unger (25 December 1982 - 1991) (divorced) (1 child)
David Frost (25 January 1981 - 18 June 1982) (divorced)
Peter Sellers (18 February 1977 - 24 July 1980) (his death)

Trade Mark (4)

Effervescent smile
Long flowing brown hair and enchanting green eyes
Demure demeanor
Often played the girl next door, a princess, or a teenager. Most of her characters were usually meek, soft spoken, or angelic.

Trivia (27)

After the death of her first husband, Peter Sellers, she became fiercely protective of his name. She even won a $1.475-million lawsuit against the makers of Trail of the Pink Panther (1982), claiming that it insulted his memory. Following the lawsuit, Frederick was very cautious over the distribution of his films and made sure that each one was handled with respect to her late husband. She also provided previously unreleased home videos and photographs of Sellers for a documentary. In the later years of her life she insisted on being referred to as Lynne Sellers.
Attended a private all-girls school in Middlesex, England, while growing up.
Had one daughter, Cassie Cecilia Unger (DOB: May 21, 1983) by her third husband Barry S. Unger. Following her mother's death when she was 10 years old, Cassie inherited all income from Peter Sellers' estate, including royalties from his work. Cassie was brought up mainly by her maternal grandmother Iris Frederick (B. May 17, 1928 D. January 11, 2006). Cassie graduated from UCLA in 2009 with a degree in English and continues to lead a private life in great anonymity.
Educated at the Notting Hill and Ealing High School for Girls. Left school when nearly 16 to play a leading role in 'No Blade of Grass'.
Daughter of Iris Frederick.
Many of Lynne Frederick's films have garnered cult followings in recent years. Most notably Vampire Circus (1972), The Amazing Mr. Blunden (1972), Phase IV (1974), Largo retorno (1975), and Schizo (1976).
Once presented fellow British actress, Julie Dawn Cole, with a drama award while Cole was attending theater school.
Following her own death, Frederick left $250,000 to be split between the British Heart Foundation and the Middlesex Hospital in London as tribute to her late husband, Peter Sellers (who died of a heart attack). As a sign of gratitude, the Middlesex Hospital hung up a plaque thanking both Sellers and Frederick for their generous donation.
Peter Sellers biographer, Roger Lewis, claims that of all of Sellers's wives, Lynne Frederick was the most poorly treated. Frederick spent much time acting as nurse to Sellers as his health began to spiral downward in the final years of his life. Despite the fact that Sellers was an increasingly impatient and hostile person to be around, Frederick remained by his side. Rumor has it that Frederick suffered much physical and mental abuse at the hands of Sellers.
Was briefly estranged from her mother, Iris Frederick, during the course of her marriage to Peter Sellers. They later rekindled following the depression and public backlash that Lynne faced after Sellers death.
The exact nature of Lynne Fredericks death has been the subject of much discussion, controversy, and debate. The common idea has been that she died due to alcoholism. On the other hand, her mother, Iris Frederick, claimed, in a 1995 interview with "Hello Magazine", that her daughters death was due to natural causes after she experienced a seizure in her sleep. The autopsy report, which has never completely released to the public, failed to find a cause of death but did rule out suicide and foul play. Another theory that was published in a newspaper article shortly after her death (titled "Lynne's Last Missed Kiss" written by Terry Willows) claimed that Lynne fell in her bathroom and hit her head a week before she died, which could have been a contributing factor to her death (although this has never been confirmed).
While living in California during the later years of her life, she once lived in a house that was previously owned by Hollywood legend Gary Cooper.
Is interred in Golders Green Crematorium in the United Kingdom next to her first husband, Peter Sellers.
Lynne Frederick's funeral was held on May 5, 1994 in Santa Monica, California. Attendees at her private funeral and memorial service included her daughter Cassie Unger, her ex-husband Barry Unger, her mother Iris Frederick, her Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) co-star Fiona Fullerton, and other personal family and friends of Frederick. Her ex-husband, David Frost, and Sellers children did not attend. Her funeral and memorial service where concealed from the public and members of the press where banned. The press later made a mockery about how few people attended her funeral, which her mother, Iris, later claimed was her daughters wish. In an exclusive interview with Hello Magazine in 1995, Frederick's mother stated "that's what she requested in her will. She [Lynne Frederick] was a very private person.".
Was described as "the Olivia Hussey of her day" in one of her obituaries. Over the years she has drawn much comparison to Hussey. Although the two actresses never met (as Hussey confirmed via Twitter in December of 2016) there are many inherited similarities between them. For example both are British, have green eyes, long hair, soft facial features, and are undoubtedly some of the most beautiful actress of their time.
Was portrayed by Emilia Fox in the HBO movie The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004). But the scenes where later deleted due to legal reasons. On portraying Frederick, Fox stated "I had thought very carefully about playing Lynne. I wanted to represent her in a way that I though was fair - which was a very young girl being taken up in this world of laughter and light, and then finding out the reality." Fox's deleted scenes are available on the special features section of the DVD.
Lynne had a brief appearance in Logan's Run (1976); although, it was part of the Hallucimill footage that was removed in order for MGM to obtain a PG rating from the MPAA.
Was good friends with famed British actor, David Niven, whom she worked with in a television film adaptation of The Canterville Ghost (1975). Frederick and Niven made many appearances together at public events over the years. She had even personally asked Niven to speak at a memorial service for her late husband, Peter Sellers. In the aftermath of Frederick's blacklisting in Hollywood after Sellers death, Niven was one of the few people in show business who did not turn against her. They remained close friends until Niven's death on July 29, 1983, which was just four days after Frederick's twenty ninth birthday and two months after the birth of her daughter.
Married Peter Sellers right after she finished filming Schizo (1976).
Died four weeks prior to her daughters eleventh birthday, and three weeks before her mother's sixty sixth birthday.
In the ten year span of her acting career she made seventeen television appearances in made for television films/shows, thirteen theatrical release films, and produced one movie. Her range of characters she played on screen included three princesses, one queen, a prostitute, a paranoid schizophrenic, a lesbian, a saloon singer, a gypsy, a Jewish refugee in WWII, and more.
At the age of sixteen, she is the youngest actress to portray Henry VIII's fifth wife, Catherine Howard, on screen as of 2017 [in the film Henry VIII and His Six Wives (1972)]. Her performance is noted for its great historical accuracy in portraying Howard from a deeply sympathetic perspective. Many noting her performance in the film as the finest adaptation of Catherine Howard in cinema.
Peter Sellers first proposed to Lynne two days after meeting her, which she refused. A year later he proposed again, this time she accepted and they eloped in Paris on February 18, 1977.
Very little was known about her personally and reports about the nature of her true character vary. Her Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) co-star Tom Baker recalled her as being very nice but very reserved and somewhat closed off. Fabio Testi and Mark Burns (I)' have similar accounts of Frederick being very nice but more effervescent rather than closed off. Peter Sellers's elder daughter, Sarah, recalled Lynne as being very bubbly, warm, and engaging but slightly air headed. Most of the negative reports of Lynne (that became most well-known about her) came after Sellers death and controversial will which was followed by her blacklisting in Hollywood. Most of these 'reports' have been dismissed as being pretenses and mere attempts to further blacken her name, furthermore holding no realistic accounts to her true nature. Frederick herself became a very private individual after her divorce from her second husband and she was hardly ever seen in public after that, which contributed to the lack of knowledge about her personally.
One of her favorite books was the bestselling novel 'The Thorn Birds' by Colleen McCullough. When Hollywood bought the rights to the book and planned to make it into a television miniseries adaptation (The Thorn Birds (1983)), she publicly campaigned for the leading role of Meggie Cleary. She even went as far as dying her hair red. But the role was instead given to English-born Australian actress, Rachel Ward, who would end up getting a Golden Globe nomination for Best Performance by an Actress in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television for her performance.

Personal Quotes (14)

[on her career] I'm the sort of person who really takes it as it comes. If it comes nicely, then that's lovely; if it doesn't, then it doesn't. If I don't get work then I sort of think about doing something else. Of course it's getting better and it's lovely.
I think women are just as capable of ruling people and looking after our affairs as men are. Sometimes possibly better because women have a level of sensibility and sensitivity as well, which possibly men don't sometimes.
[on same sex relationships] With homosexuality and lesbianism, I just don't think you can put a ban on it, I don't think you can say it's wrong. I think people should live how they want to live. I don't think it should be illegal.
[on her marriage to Peter Sellers] I was his mother, his sister, his daughter, his lover, his wife and he became for me my father, my lover, my friend.
[on how she got into acting] I was sitting in my class at school a few days later struggling with my Latin exercises, when I was told I was wanted urgently on the telephone. I went to take the call and was told by my mother and Mrs. Malone that the part was mine if I wanted it and I had two hours in which to decide! It was all up to me. I had to choose whether to forsake my exams, which were coming along, and do the film, probably taking up acting as a career, even though I originally wanted to be a teacher, or forget the picture and concentrate on my studies. When the bell rang for the final period, I had made up my mind to take the opportunity and accept the role.
[on being cast in her debut film, No Blade of Grass (1970)] I still can't quite believe what's happened. I never acted professionally before in my life, so I'm very lucky to have been given the role.
Today is the first day of the rest of your life.
When I married Peter [Sellers], I decided to give up my career as an actress and be totally devoted to him. I was the loving wife always at home. He liked it, and was totally agreeable to the idea at the time. But then I began to get fidgety and restless. I'm just waiting for the right part to come, I want to do some acting.
Anyone would be rather proud of having saved a ... friend or acquaintance.
[on her acting career aspirations] I'd like to go as far as possible, really. I'd like it to be...let's be honest, I'd like to be a star but in the nicest way. I wouldn't want to be a star who is temperamental; I wouldn't like to be a star with inverted commas, which automatically means you have to be boring and late and awful and temperamental and rude and lose all the softness. I want to remain very much like I am. I don't want to get big-headed and difficult.
[on making historical drama films] Reality is often more difficult to recreate than fiction.
[on her refusal to write a 'tell-all' book about her relationship with Peter Sellers] I have been asked to name my price to talk about Peter and me, but I told them all that no amount could buy my story. It's a terribly private thing - there's not enough money to make me reveal those secrets.
[on religion and the reaction to the progressive Roman priest's response of the Pope declaring premarital sex a sin.] I really agree with the other priests that it should have never been issued. I think that does put the Church back; I really do. I can say it because I'm not particularly religious. But I think people who are religious, I hope they would feel that it's not a step forward. I think premarital sex is a good idea. I think the worst thing that could possibly happen is to not have sex before you get married, then get married and find out its dreadful.
[when she tried on Janet Suzman's Alexandra costume for the film 'Nicholas and Alexandra' (1971)] I feel myself no longer a mere Grand Duchess, but Tsarina herself.

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