Catherine Schell

Katherina Freiin Schell von Bauschlott (born July 17, 1944 in Budapest) is a Hungarian-born American actress.

Schell rose to fame in various British film and television productions in the 1960s and 1970s. She acted under the name Catherine von Schell early in her career, but is best known by the name Catherine Schell.

Early life

Schell's father, Baron Paul Schell von Bauschlott, was a Hungarian diplomat, while her mother was Countess Katharina Maria Etelka Georgina Elisabeth Teleki de Szék. At the beginning of the Second World War, the Nazis confiscated their estates. Fleeing Hungary in advance of the Russians and Communism, the family lived in poverty until 1948, finding asylum first in Vienna and Salzburg. In 1950, they migrated to the United States, where Schell's father gained US citizenship.

Schell entered a convent school in the New York City borough of Staten Island. In 1957, Paul Schell joined Radio Free Europe and the family moved to Munich, where Catherine developed an interest in acting and attended the prestigious Falconberg School.


Schell's brother Paul Rudolf (born 1940), now known as Paul von Schell, has appeared in some German-language productions, while another brother, Peter (1941-1968), died young. Their cousins include Maximilian and Maria Schell, both also actors. Through a German great-grandfather, Schell is related to Louis XIV of France, Philip II, Duke of Orléans, Regent of France, and Francis I, Holy Roman Emperor.


Under the name Catherine von Schell she made her film debut in 1964 as the title character in the little-known German-language film Lana: Queen of the Amazons (AKA "Lana - Königin der Amazonen").

While filming The Amsterdam Affair in 1968 she met and married her first husband, the British actor William Marlowe (1932–2004) and moved to London.

In 1969, she appeared as Bond girl "Nancy" in the George Lazenby James Bond film On Her Majesty's Secret Service and as Clementine Taplin in the science fiction thriller Moon Zero Two.

In 1972, she appeared for the first time under the name Catherine Schell in Madame Sin, an American television movie starring Bette Davis. In 1975, she appeared opposite Peter Sellers in the comedy The Return of the Pink Panther as Lady Claudine Lytton. Her appearance in the film caused complications, as she would frequently break into uncontrollable laughter at the slightest prompting from Sellers. A scene in a hotel restaurant was shot many times unsuccessfully, and the final print of the film simply includes the footage of Schell attempting to stifle laughter at Sellers's behaviour. During the nightclub bar scene, Inspector Clouseau utters the line made famous by Humphrey Bogart, "Here's looking at you, kid", and Schell breaks character and leans forward in a fit of laughter.


In 1975 she appeared in a first season episode of the ITC television science fiction series Space: 1999 entitled Guardian of Piri, playing the guardian's robotic servant. She returned as a regular cast member in the second season in the role of Maya the alien "metamorph" from the planet Psychon, perhaps her most popular character.

Her marriage to Marlowe was dissolved in 1977 and she met the director Bill Hays. They married in 1982 and in 1984 worked together on the TV production of A Month in the Country.

In 1979, she appeared in a popular episode of the BBC series Doctor Who entitled City of Death as the Countess Scarlioni, wife of the episode's villain. The episode stars Tom Baker as the Doctor, with a cameo appearance by John Cleese and Eleanor Bron. She also played regular roles in other television series such as The Adventurer, One By One, Mog and Wish Me Luck, in addition to many other guest appearances, including The Persuaders!, The Troubleshooters, Arthur of the Britons, Return of the Saint, The Sweeney, The Onedin Line, The Gentle Touch, Lovejoy, Bergerac, The Bill and Howards' Way.


Schell's acting career continued into the mid-1990s, after which she retired from acting and opened Maison Valentin, a small hotel in France which is a popular destination for fans of Space: 1999. In retirement she has made infrequent appearances at science fiction conventions, largely due to the declining health of her second husband, Bill Hays, who died on March 6, 2006.

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