In Praise Of A Soap Opera Legend, Remembering Kate O'Mara

Dynasty legend Kate O’Mara has died at the age of 74. Born in Leicester in 1939 O’Mara became a full-time actress after leaving art school, making her stage debut in a 1963 production of The Merchant of Venice. She has previously appeared in Home and Away, a film also starring Kathleen Harrison and Jack Werner, in which she was credited under the stage name Merrie Carroll.

kate o mara deathKate O'Mara has died at the age of 74

Throughout the 60’s O’Mara continued to make television appearances, on several shows including The Saint, The Avengers and Danger Man. She appeared in Hammer Studio horror films The Vampire Lovers and The Horror of Frankenstein in 1970, which impressed the studio enough to offer her a contract to produce more horror films, although O’Mara declined as she was concerned with being typecast.

O’Mara continued working in television until landing the role of The Rani, the wicked Time Lady, in Doctor Who in 1985, a part she later claimed that she would have loved to return to. In 1986 O’Mara was cast as Cassandra ‘Caress’ Morrell, the scheming sister of Joan Collin’s character Alexis Colby in the American soap opera Dynasty . O’Mara appeared in 21 episodes of the soap opera, for which she would become best known.

After Dynasty O’Mara played Laura Wilde, another manipulative schemer, in BBC drama series Howards’ Way between 1989 and 1990. Later in the 90s O’Mara appeared as Jackie Stone, the elder sister of Joanna Lumley’s character, Patsy Stone. Despite being written as the older of the two sisters, O’Mara’s character would bully Patsy into telling people that she was the elder. Jackie admits she is 72 in one episode, leading Patsy to remark, “My God, then how old does that make me?”

O’Mara made several appearances on British soap operas, including Benidorm in 2012, but her roles have not been recurring and she had been fairly low key over the past few years.  She continued to work in theatre and has appeared in various productions including as Lady Windemere in Lord Arthur's Savage Crime, Rosalind in As You Like It and Marlene Dietrich in Lunch With Marlene.

kate omara lunch with marlene O'Mara as Marlene Dietrich in Lunch With Marlene.

Married twice, O’Mara had two sons, Dickon Young and Chris Linde, the latter of which she gave up for adoption after his father left. The pair did meet many years later, although did not develop a relationship. O’Mara’s other son, Dickon, hung himself on New Years Eve 2012. He had allegedly been suffering with mental health issues since a car accident and had been living in a Cottage with his mother in the village of Long Marston, Warks.

O’Mara passed away on March 30th in a nursing home in Sussex after suffering from a short illness. She is survived by her sister, Belinda Caroll, and a memorial service in her honour will be held at a later date.

MORE: Dynasty star Kate O'Mara dies aged 74

MORE: Kate O'Mara's son's death ruled a suicide


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