Actor best known for playing Alexis Colby's sister Cassandra 'Caress' Morrell in long-running US soap in 1980s
By Maev Kennedy
March 30, 2014
She played a procession of glamorously tough cookies in television soaps and dramas, all menace, narrowed eyes and tossing red hair – most famously in the long-running US series Dynasty, as the manipulative Cassandra 'Caress' Morrell, sister of Alexis Colby played by Joan Collins. She also appeared as another schemer in Howards' Way, the BBC's attempt to rival the glamour of Dynasty and Dallas.
She also made a villainous appearance as the Rani in Dr Who with two doctors, Sylvester McCoy, and Colin Baker, a role she relished and one she said, when the programme celebrated its 50th anniversary last year, she would have loved to return to. Baker tweeted: "Oh my goodness. Kate O'Mara is no longer with us. Sad sad news. A delightful, committed and talented lady and actress. We are the poorer."
Bonnie Langford, who also appeared with her in Dr Who, tweeted: "So sad to hear that the wonderful Kate O'Mara has gone. Treasured memories."
The television presenter Graham Norton tweeted: "Kate O'Mara is no more. Only 74! I loved every encounter I had with her. Today doesn't seem so sunny."
Boy George joined the tributes, tweeting: "Kate O'Mara god rest her soul! R.I.P!" while sports journalist Graham Spiers recalled: "Kate O'Mara has died. For a teenage lad of the 70s/80s it was a nightmare watching her on TV while sitting in the same room as your parents."
Her agent Phil Belfield, who called her "extraordinary", said she had died in a Sussex nursing home after a short illness. "A shining star has gone out and Kate will be dearly missed by all who knew and have worked with her," he added.
He said her energy and vitality, and her love for the theatre would be much missed.
O'Mara said in an inteview a few years ago: "Because my career has been based so much on my looks, when I finally pass my 'sell-by' date I think I'll probably pack it in." In fact, she never did. She appeared in the West End only last October in An Evening With Kate O'Mara, and was responding on Twitter to many get well messages from fans – "It's both humbling and completely overwhelming to read all of your messages" – up to a fortnight ago.
Some of her more heroic appearances were in Triangle, an early 80s BBC soap set on a North Sea ferry – which staggered on for three series before being axed but has gained posthumous fame as one of the worst television dramas ever made. Filmed on a real ferry, frequently in rough seas and vile weather, at one point it required O'Mara to sunbathe topless on an unmistakably icy deck.
O’MARA, Kate (Frances M. Carroll)
Born: 8/10/1939, Leicester, England, U.K.
Died: 3/29/2014, Leicester, Sussex, England
Kate O'Mara's westerns - actress:
The Desperados! - 1969 (Adah)
Cannon for Cordoba - 1970 (whore)