29 August 2013

Vanda Hudson

Beautiful starlet Vanda Hudson (1937-2004) was one of the blond bombshells of the British cinema in the post-war years. She appeared in a dozen films and TV series of the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Vanda Hudson
Yugoslavian postcard by Studio Sombor, no. 288. Photo: Rank.

Too Sexy For Blackpool

Vanda Hudson was born as Wanda Zaleska in Silesia, part of present-day Poland (some sources say Villefrance, France), in 1937. She moved to Great Britain in 1948 and made her screen debut in 1955. I could not find much more information about her private life on the web.

There is a 1958 press picture of her in a sexy dress in which she is presented as a cabaret singer. According to the subscript Vanda “joined the summer show on Blackpool's Central pier and brought along this gold Lame and sequin dress to wear in her act. But producer Peter Webster decided it was too sexy for Blackpool holiday makers so he ruled that the dress is out. Instead Vanda wears a less revealing simple styled dress to cover her 38-22-36 figure.”

A publicity stunt for the Central pier and for the blond bombshell?

Since the mid-1950s Vanda worked as an actress in films and TV series. According to IMDb, she made her TV-debut in 1955 in the British Detective series The Vipe (Richard Lester a.o., 1954-1960).

Her first film appearance was an uncredited part in the World War II drama Seven Thunders (Hugo Fregonese, 1957) starring Stephen Boyd.

More small parts followed in the drama Innocent Sinners (Philip Leacock, 1958), the Frankie Vaughan vehicle The Heart of a Man (Herbert Wilcox, 1959) in which she played a character called Cha Cha, and the Oscar nominated drama Libel (Anthony Asquith, 1959) starring Dirk Bogarde.

Press photo of Vanda Hudson in Blackpool in 1958. Source: Art 247.

Vanda Hudson in Circus of Horrors (1960). Source: Cinemorgue.

Lurid And Risqué

In 1960 Vanda Hudson played a supporting part in the comedy Bottoms Up (Mario Zampi, 1960), just credited as Vanda.

That year she also appeared in the horror film Circus of Horrors (Sydney Hayers, 1960) starring Anton Diffring and German star Erika Remberg.

IMDb reviewer Guanche calls it “Lurid and risqué for its time, and still quite unsettling (…) This is a grim story of a doctor fleeing some botched plastic surgeries. He takes over a backwoods circus and populates it with beautiful, yet disfigured female performers whom he restores to beauty and rescues from lives of prostitution and rejection. Of course, once the circus becomes successful, the ladies no longer feel like putting up with, or putting out for him, so he devises elaborate circus ‘accidents’ to deal with their ingratitude.”

Vanda plays one of his victims, who meets a particularly gruesome end. Anton Diffring sabotages the knife-thrower's act and sexy target girl Magda von Meck (Vanda) is stabbed in the throat.

Vanda Hudson
German postcard by ISV, no. 11/6.

Vanda Hudson
Yugoslavian postcard by Studio Sombor, no. 288. Sent by mail in 1963. Photo: Rank.

Scandalous Luxemburg Production

Vanda Hudson’s biggest film role came the following year with her part as Fina in the romance Ticket to Paradise (Francis Searle, 1961), for which she was billed third.

More supporting parts followed in the crime films Jungle Street (Charles Saunders, 1961) starring David McCallum and Jill Ireland, and Strip Tease Murder (Ernest Morris, 1961) with Ann Lynn.

She then appeared in Double Danger (Roger Jenkins, 1961), an episode of the first season of the legendary mystery TV series The Avengers (1961-1969) starring Patrick Macnee as secret agent John Steed.

Vanda played a bit part in the comedy Father Came Too! (Peter Graham Scott, 1964) starring James Robertson Justice.

In 1963 she retired to raise her family but in 1967 she was seen in the scandalous Luxemburg production Happening (Marc Boureau, 1967) with André Dumas.

Two years later she appeared topless as an aspiring actress in the sex comedy A Promise of Bed (Derek Ford, 1969) with Victor Spinetti. It would be her final film.

Subsequently she ran the restaurant Turpin’s in Hampstead, north London.

Vanda Hudson died in 2004, aged 70.

Trailer of Circus of Horrors (1960). Source: Wicked Vision Magazine (YouTube).

Sources: The Stage, Cinemorgue, Screenweek, Art. 247 and IMDb.


Terry Christie said...

Vanda Hudson at one time when she used to be a beautiful actress since 1955 until 1970 and her great role as the victim Magda von Meck in Sidney Hayers British movie
Circus of Horrors when she is pinned to the wheel and she is stabbed to the neck in front of the huge crowds.

Her Films & TV Shows including A Promise of Bed,Jungle Street,The Vipe,Ticket to Paradise,Libel,The Avengers,Father Came Too and The Heart of a Man.

Sadly when she passed away at the age of 66 years and I won't forget the beautiful British actress icon is the late Vanda Hudson.

Terry Christie,
From Sunderland,Tyne & Wear

Anonymous said...


Christophe CAIETTI said...

I did work for her one year In The Dick Turpins restaurant In London Hamptead Heath, 1984/1985. I Was 20 years old. A young frenchie. She Was alcohlic but a wonderful Woman. If someone hais got a pictural of her at turpins at this time i would be so glad. I don t have onlyOne !

Christophe CAIETTI said...

I lived In her house too. Do you have a picture of her ?

Paul van Yperen said...

Thanks for all these memories. She must have been wonderful.