Fiona Lewis. TCM Overview.
Fiona Lewis is a beautiful British actress who has starred in Hollywood movies. She was born in Westcliffe-on-Sea, Essex in 1946. Among her early credits is an episode of “The Saint” with Roger Moore in 1966. Her UK films include “Dance of the Vampires”, “Otley” with Romy Schneider and “Villian” in 1970 with Richard Burton. In Hollywood she was featured in “Wanda Nevada” and “Strange Invaders”.
This pretty British actress got her start being menaced and looking attractively frightened in low-budget horror films. She was first seen as a busty serving girl in Roman Polanski’s ambitious “The Fearless Vampire Killers” (1967), then went on to lend an unwonted grace to such blood-soaked fare as “Dr. Phibes Rises Again” (1972), and “Blue Blood” (1973).
It wasn’t all blood and guts, however. Lewis had a supporting role in the slapstick spy comedy “Otley” (1969), played a highwayman’s wench in “Where’s Jack?” (also 1969), was Ian McShane’s girlfriend in the Richard Burton vehicle “Villain” (1971) and dallied with Liszt in Ken Russell’s bizarre, over-the-top “Lisztomania” (1975).
Dismayed by the way her career was going in England, Lewis ventured to the US. She appeared in the Dino De Laurentiis potboiler “Drum” (1976), played a journalist in “Stunts” (1977), and had a few good moments in Brian De Palma’s “The Fury” (1978), as a sexy government agent who comes to a very unhappy end. She showed up in the unsuccessful Western “Wanda Nevada” (1979), was a deliciously evil nurse in the Australian “Strange Behavior/Dead Kids” (1979), had a nice bit as an alien in “Strange Invaders” (1983) and played a doctor in Joe Dante’s sci-fi adventure “Innerspace” (1987).
Although Lewis has been seen on British TV (and was made sport of on “Monty Python’s Flying Circus”), her lone American appearance was as Lucy in the CBS version of “Dracula” (1974). Between film roles, Lewis has scripted a number of screenplays, worked as a journalist and has had her artwork exhibited.
Article from 1986 in “The New Yorker”:
PERSONAL HISTORY by Fiona Lewis about about her career as a B-movie actress. Fiona Lewis, a British upper-class girl, arrived in Los Angeles, from London, in the early ’70s. She slipped easily into modeling and acting. The story of her rise to semi-fame is simply this: she was willing to take her clothes off. In L.A., she dated Cary Grant for a while until she realized that it was his daughter, not him, who actually required a date. …She had never taken acting classes, but she was selected by Roman Polanski to play a bawdy maid in his film “The Fearless Vampire Killers, or Pardon Me, but Your Teeth Are in My Neck.”
In California, she was picked by Dino De Laurentiis to be in her first Hollywood film, “Drum”–two hours jampacked with sadism, depravity, and melodrama… She starred in Michael Laughlin’s “Strange Behavior,” playing a diabolical scientist. During the ’70s, Lewis also had liasons with at least 4 writers, under the false impression that with them she would be allowed to reveal her secret intellectual self.
She lived with a Chicago screenwriter named John until he seduced the leading lady in his directorial debut. Meanwhile, Lewis spent a lot of time at Tony Richardson’s home, where she met writers Nos. 2 and 4… Next, Lewis posed for “Playboy.”
By 1977, she had made a few forays into journalism, freelancing for the L.A. “Times.” In between writing assignments and unsatisfactory affairs with writers, she hung out with her girlfriends: women also negotiating the end of their 20s…
After her 4th affair, with a writer named Douglas, Lewis decided to end her infatuation with writers. One of her last acting attempts was “The Fury,” a flashy terrorist yarn of psychic horror, with nudity and oceans of blood.
The movie featured a particularly gruesome sex scene, which was later cut, but still photos from the omitted scene turned up years later, after Lewis had spent 10 years as a screenwriter and had written her first novel.
At a reading she was giving in an L.A. bookstore, a man asked her to sign one of those photos from the film. Whether she liked it or not, she was still in show business.The above “New Yorker” article can be also accessed online here.