THE woman remembered as the first Hammer horror vampire to bare her fangs on screen, Valerie Sheila Reddington, died at St Mary’s Hospital, Newport, on November 27, aged 84.
As actress Valerie Gaunt, she appeared with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing in two films — firstly in The Curse of Frankenstein in 1957, as Victor Frankenstein’s maid and mistress, Justine.
Her famous, blood-curdling scream at the hands of Frankenstein’s monster is the lead-in to Cushing’s classic "pass the marmalade" line.
She also appeared alongside Island actor Melvyn Hayes, who played the role of young Victor Frankenstein in the film.
The actress played a more iconic role as a vampire bride, alongside Lee, in Dracula in 1958.
The director of both films, Terence Fisher, handed her the first role after he saw her performance in an episode of BBC television series Dixon of Dock Green, in 1956.
Before her first screen appearance, she studied theatre at RADA, London. From 1951, she appeared in repertory theatre.
Her husband, Gerald, a stockbroker and non-stipendiary priest, later to become a vicar, met her in 1957.
The couple tied the knot at All Saints’ Church, Margaret Street, West London, on May 17 the following year.
A friend of Christopher Lee, he watched his wife-to-be film Dracula at Hammer Studios, Bray.
Once married, Mrs Reddington gave up her acting career. She taught at the Bush Davies School of Theatre Arts, East Grinstead, West Sussex, and read books for the blind for the Calibre Audio Library.
The family moved to Madeira Road, Seaview, in 1999, on Mr Reddington’s retirement.
A keen artist, she also painted watercolour portraits of children.
Her funeral was held at St Peter’s Church, Seaview, followed by interment at St Helens Parish Church, last Friday.
Mrs Reddington, who was born in West Bromwich, is survived by her husband, son Marcus, daughters Benedicta Green and Victoria Jol, and three grandchildren. Her son, Adam, died when he was nine.