Elizabeth Sellars, actress who played Bogart's wife in The Barefoot Contessa, dies at 98
Elizabeth Sellars, an actress who starred opposite Humphrey Bogart in The Barefoot Contessa, has died. She was 98.
Her family reported the news via an announcement in The Telegraph. The Scottish actress died at home on Dec. 30.
Sellars made her mark opposite several prominent Hollywood stars, most notably playing Jerry, the wife of Bogart’s Hollywood writer-director in The Barefoot Contessa, which also starred Ava Gardner. She appeared with Gardner again in 1963’s 55 Days at Peking. She also portrayed Julie Clary, a real historical figure and queen consort of Spain who falls for Joseph Bonaparte (Cameron Mitchell) in Désirée. Marlon Brando portrayed her brother-in-law Napoleon in the film.
She also starred opposite Peter O’Toole, when he was still a stage actor with only two minor film credits, in The Day They Robbed the Bank of England.
Sellars was born on May 6, 1921 in Glasgow, Scotland. She studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), before making her stage debut in 1946 opposite Alec Guinness in a London production of The Brothers Karamazov. She worked regularly with the Royal Shakespeare Company, early in her career, appearing in productions of Richard III, The Winter’s Tale, Troilus and Cressida, and more.
In 1949, she made her screen debut in British film Floodtide. She built a steady career in British cinema, appearing in such British crime dramas as Guilt Is My Shadow (1950), Dirk Bogarde’s Hunted (1952) and, with John Mills in The Long Memory (1953). Notably, she starred in one of the final films made by the legendary Ealing Studios, 1957’s Decision Against Time.
Sellars also had roles in two Hammer films, Cloudburst and The Mummy’s Shroud, as well as acting opposite Richard Burton in Prince of Players and Peter Finch in The Shiralee. Other films include The Last Man to Hang?, Never Let Go, The Webster Boy, and The Chalk Garden.
Sellars married surgeon Francis Austin Henley in 1960, and they remained a couple until his death in 2009. She is survived by her stepson Raymond.