Haworth in 1965
|Born||Valerie Jill Haworth
(1945-08-15)15 August 1945
Hove, Sussex, England, UK
|Died||3 January 2011(2011-01-03) (aged 65)
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Resting place||Kensico Cemetery|
Valerie Jill Haworth (15 August 1945 – 3 January 2011) was an English actress. She appeared in films throughout the 1960s, and started making guest appearances on television in 1963. She originated the role of Sally Bowles in the musical Cabaret on Broadway in 1966.
Haworth was born in Hove, Sussex, to a textile magnate father and a mother who trained as a ballet dancer. She was named Valerie Jill in honour of the day she was born, Victory over Japan Day or V.J. Day. She took ballet lessons at the prestigious Sadler’s Wells Ballet School to escape from an unhappy home when her parents separated in 1953. Later she attended the Corona Stage School.
Her first film appearance was in the remake of The 39 Steps (1959), directed by Ralph Thomas, when she had a non-speaking part as a schoolgirl. Next she played another schoolgirl in The Brides of Dracula (1960), directed by Terence Fisher.
Otto Preminger was looking for a new fresh face for the role of Karen, an ill-fated Jewish-Danish refugee girl in love with Dov Landau (Sal Mineo), for his film Exodus (1960). He travelled to Britain and Germany, with his fiancée Hope Bryce, looking for a girl for the role. After looking at hundreds of girls, Preminger spotted a photo of Haworth in a modelling magazine for the Corona Theatre School.
Haworth only went to the three auditions to get out of school. She was only 15 years old when she appeared as Karen in her first acting role in a feature film. Haworth appeared in the 31 July 1960 issue of Parade magazine. She and Mineo appeared on the front cover of the 12 December 1960 issue of LIFE, part of a photo essay by Gjon Mili.
Under contract to Preminger (for five years), she also worked with him in The Cardinal (1963; as Lalage Menton), and In Harm’s Way (1965) as Ensign Annalee Dorne, a Nurse Corps officer who, while engaged to Ensign Jeremiah Torrey (Brandon de Wilde), commits suicide after being raped by Captain Paul Eddington, Jr. (Kirk Douglas). Haworth liked working with De Wilde, Patricia Neal, and Douglas, but called John Wayne “the meanest, nastiest man with the worst attitude I ever worked with.”
Preminger insisted that she live in New York City to become Americanized, but he did not want her to live in Los Angeles for fear she would just be a ‘starlet a-go-go’. She was approached to be the title character in Lolita (1962) with James Mason, but because Preminger held her contract, he vetoed the idea.
Mineo and Haworth were also considered for the film David and Lisa (1962), but once again Preminger refused permission. Preminger let her make three French films; Les Mystères de Paris (as Fleur de Marie; 1962), Because, Because of a Woman (as Cécilia; 1963), and Ton ombre est la mienne (as Sylvie ‘Devi’ Bergerat; 1963). Haworth co-starred alongside David McCallum in the Outer Limits episode, “The Sixth Finger” (1963). Haworth visited Mineo in Utah in November 1962 and had a nonspeaking role as an extra in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965).
She made four appearances on the television programme 12 O’Clock High. In “The Sound of Distant Thunder,” she played an English girl, Mary, who falls in love with Lieutenant Andy Lathrop (played by Peter Fonda). The same season, she played a deaf girl, Nora Burgess, in an episode entitled “To Heinie with Love”. She then played Lieutenant Fay Vendry in two episodes, “Runway in the Dark” (1965) and “The Hotshot.”
In 1965, she appeared in an episode of The Rogues entitled “Mr. White’s Christmas” as Timothea, and really loved working with David Niven and Charles Boyer. She appeared in one of the final episodes of the series Rawhide, “Duel at Daybreak”, as Vicki Woodruff. Haworth first hurt her back in an accident on the set when she jumped from a runaway buggy and team of horses. She then caught pneumonia and was bedridden for two months after she had to stand waist-deep in a man-made pond for six hours doing retakes.
She starred in the horror films It! (1967), The Haunted House of Horror (1969), Tower of Evil (1972), Home for the Holidays (1972), and The Mutations (1974). She only did It! for the money, hated her hair in the film, and hated the film altogether. Haworth liked working with Roddy McDowell, who brought her the poster for the film (on her opening night of Cabaret), and wrote “S-h” in front of the title.
While filming It! she met Hal Prince, who was doing research for a musical based on Goodbye to Berlin by Christopher Isherwood. Prince asked her if she could sing, to which she claimed, “Louder than Merman.” She played Sally Bowles in the original Broadway cast of the 1966 musical Cabaret, a part she played for almost two and a half years. Judi Dench took over the role when the production debuted in London in 1968. Haworth’s other stage roles included Bedroom Farce and Butterflies Are Free.
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While making Exodus, Haworth became friends, first, and then lovers, with Sal Mineo, and they were friends until his death in 1976. She lost her virginity to Mineo at the age of 15 in her hotel suite at the Gotham Hotel in Manhattan. Their relationship as a couple ended on Valentine’s Day 1964 when she discovered Sal was having an affair with Bobby Sherman. She did not talk to Mineo for a time, but they eventually became friends again, made public appearances together, and in 1971 she invested in his attempted production of The Wrong People (a book about a homosexual relationship with a young boy). Their friendship led to a brief resumption of a sexual relationship in 1969, but after she got pregnant in September and had an abortion, they went back to being just friends. She later told author Michael Michaud that she thought Courtney Burr III, who later had a long-term relationship with Mineo, was the “love of Mineo’s life.”
Haworth dated television producer Aaron Spelling in the summer of 1965, when he was 42 and she was almost 20. Spelling reportedly told friends that he hoped that Haworth would be the next Mrs. Spelling, but Haworth’s mother, Nancy, reportedly “scoffed” at the idea.