Actress Samantha Eggar was born in Hampstead, London, England, on March 5, 1939. Educated at a convent, she began her acting career in Shakespearean companies. Eggar won an Academy Award nod for her performance in 1965's The Collector and had memorable roles in 1976's The Seven-Per-Cent Solution and in David Cronenberg's The Brood (1979). She's also known for appearances in plays such as The Lonely Road and The Seagull, and on television series like Anna and the King and All My Children. Eggar was married to actor and producer Tom Stern from 1964 to '71.
Early Life and Education
Samantha Eggar was born on March 5, 1939, in Hampstead, London, England, to parents Muriel and Brigadier General Ralph Eggar. Christened Victoria Louise Samantha Marie Elizabeth Therese Eggar, she was educated at a convent and began her acting career in several Shakespearean companies. According to her official website, at a young age, Eggar seemed "immediately destined to be an actor or a nun." As she later stated in reference to her upbringing, "You can always take the girl out of the country, but you can never take the English countryside out of the girl."
As an elementary school student, Eggar excelled in sports and participated in various artistic endeavors, including acting; she performed in school plays, poetry competitions and musical concerts, among other productions, around this time. Though she was offered a scholarship to London's Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Muriel Eggar was opposed to the idea of her daughter attending the school, so Eggar instead enrolled at London's Webber Douglas School for Drama in pursuit of an acting career.
Acting Career Begins
While attending Webber Douglas, Eggar landed a role in a theatrical rendition of That Hamilton Woman by famed writer and photographer Cecil Beaton. Roles in classical productions followed, including Shakespearean plays at the famed Oxford Playhouse.
While performing in a January 1962 Royal Court Theatre production of A Midsummer Night's Dream alongside Albert Finney, David Warner and Lynn Redgrave, Eggar was introduced to British film producer Betty Box and subsequently cast in a big-screen feature about college students entitled Wild and Willing (1962). Directed by Ralph Thomas, the film also starred Virginia Maskell, Paul Rogers, John Hurt and Ian McShane.
Just a few short years later, a 25-year-old Eggar won critical acclaim—including an Academy Award nod—for her performance as a kidnapping victim in the William Wyler-directed film The Collector (1965), based on the 1963 novel of the same name by John Fowles and also starring Terence Stamp and Mona Washbourne.
Though several successful film credits followed, including Doctor Dolittle (1967) and The Molly Maguires (1970), many agree that Eggar's finest performance came in the 1976 Sherlock Holmes crime drama The Seven-Per-Cent Solution. In the film, she played Mary Morstan Watson, the wife of Dr. John Watson (played by Robert Duvall).
Around this same time, Eggar appeared as Anna Leonowens on the American television series Anna and the King (1972) alongside famed actor Yul Brynner, and as Nola Carveth in David Cronenberg's The Brood (1979). The actress's success continued into the '80s, with credits during the decade including Arthur Schnitzler's theatrical production The Lonely Road (1985) alongside Colin Firth and Anthony Hopkins, and a production of Anton Chekhov's famous play The Seagull (1986) alongside John Hurt—marking her second appearance with the actor.
In 1997, Eggar did voice-over work (as Hera) for the Disney film Hercules. Three years later, the actress appeared as Charlotte Devane on the soap opera All My Children (2000). She was later cast on the critically acclaimed drama Commander in Chief, starring as Sara Templeton on the show from 2005 to 2006.
In 2010, Eggar emceed the Catholics in Media Associates Awards Ceremony. Since then, the actress has had parts on TV series such as The Nine Lives of Chloe King (2011) and Metalocalypse (2012).
Eggar was married to actor and producer Tom Stern from 1964 to 1971. The couple has a son, Nicolas, and a daughter, Jenna Louise.
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