Lynne Frederick

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Lynne Frederick
Lynne Frederick.jpg
BornLynne Maria Frederick
25 July 1954
Hillingdon, Middlesex, England, UK
Died27 April 1994(1994-04-27) (aged 39)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1970–1979
Spouse(s)Peter Sellers (1977–1980)
David Frost (1981–82)
Barry Unger (1982–1991; 1 child)
 
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Lynne Frederick
Lynne Frederick.jpg
BornLynne Maria Frederick
25 July 1954
Hillingdon, Middlesex, England, UK
Died27 April 1994(1994-04-27) (aged 39)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active1970–1979
Spouse(s)Peter Sellers (1977–1980)
David Frost (1981–82)
Barry Unger (1982–1991; 1 child)

Lynne Maria Frederick (25 July 1954 – 27 April 1994) was an English film actress, renowned for her beauty and delicate features. In a career spanning ten years she made about thirty films or television drama appearances, but she is best remembered as the last wife of Peter Sellers. She was married twice after his death.

Contents

Early life

Frederick was born in Hillingdon, Middlesex, England, the daughter of Andrew and Iris Frederick. Iris became a casting director for Thames Television. Lynne's parents split up when she was two, and she was brought up by her mother and her grandmother, Cecilia, at Market Harborough in Leicestershire.

Career

Having originally aspired to becoming a teacher of mathematics and physics,[1] she abandoned her academic pursuits for the stage, and made her film debut as Mary Custance in No Blade of Grass (1970) when she was just 16 years old. She then appeared a year later in the 1971 biographical film Nicholas and Alexandra, in which she played Grand Duchess Tatiana Nikolaevna of Russia, second eldest daughter of Tsar Nicholas II. However her best-known appearance came shortly afterwards when she played another historical character, Catherine Howard in Henry VIII and His Six Wives in 1972. Frederick would go on to pursue a successful career in films throughout the 1970s. Her next role was in the 1972 children's film The Amazing Mr. Blunden and in 1973 she won an award for the "Most Promising Newcomer – Actress of 1973".

Other notable films included Saul Bass' science fiction thriller Phase IV (1974), the Spanish romance A Long Return (1975), and Schizo (1976). Her last role came in the 1979 film The Prisoner of Zenda, in which she worked with her first husband Peter Sellers. Later, in 1985, she was offered the role of Kumiko in The Karate Kid, Part II, but she turned the offer down, preferring instead to concentrate on motherhood as she had given birth to a daughter the previous year.

Personal life

She was married to Peter Sellers on 18 February 1977; they divorced in 1980. Although Sellers and Frederick had come to a financial agreement in their divorce and the actor was in the process of excluding her from his will a week before he died of a heart attack (on 24 July 1980), she inherited almost his entire estate worth an estimated £4.5 million on a technicality,[2] as the divorce decree had not been finalised.

She reportedly suffered from severe depression because of Sellers' death and attempted suicide numerous times. In her later years she reportedly became obsessed by his memory and kept a shrine to him at the Swiss chalet in Gstaad which she inherited from him. She won nearly $1.5 million in a lawsuit against the makers of the Trail of the Pink Panther (1982), made after Sellers' death, claiming the film tarnished her late husband's memory.[3]

She briefly married David Frost (on 25 January 1981); they divorced 17 months later. She later married a Californian surgeon and heart specialist, Dr. Barry Unger, in December 1982; they were divorced in 1991. By him she had one child, Cassie Unger (b. 1984).

Death

In her later years Lynne's health suffered and she died in 1994, aged 39. Victoria, Peter Sellers' daughter by his previous marriage to Britt Ekland, last saw Lynne three weeks before her death and subsequently stated, "I was so shocked. Lynne was sitting in her kitchen, dressed in a filthy kaftan. She could hardly move. She was swigging vodka directly from a jug with a handle on the side".[4] There was no evidence of foul play, and although suicide was suspected by some,[5] there was no actual evidence for this and a post-mortem failed to determine the cause of death.[6] She was survived by her mother, Iris, and her daughter, Cassie.

Her remains were cremated at Golders Green Crematorium in London and her ashes were mingled and then interred with those of Peter Sellers. Her estate passed into a trust fund, the Lynne Unger Children's Trust, which was administered by accountants in Santa Monica, California; her daughter Cassie Unger was the beneficiary.

Filmography

Television appearances

References

External links