If you've heard of Danish actress, Yutte Stensgaard, at all, chances are it's because of her role as Carmilla Karnstein in Lust for a vampire (1971). If that flick doesn't ring, a bell, this still–or minor variants thereof–might:
|The grim gallery|
In fact, that's probably one of the few reasons it's remembered at all–unless you're a fan of Tracy's pop tune, 'Strange love'.
Anyway, I was having a read of her IMDb profile yesterday. Two things surprised me. Firstly, she appears to have stopped making films in 1972. Second, the user-submitted bio by 'Dez'. Why did it surprise me? Well, the entry starts off ok:
A former au pair and model, Jytte Stensgaard emigrated to the UK in 1963, hoping to have a successful international film career. Changing her name to the slightly easier to pronounce "Yutte" Stensgaard she ironically didn't make her debut in a British film, but in the Italian movie La ragazza con la pistola (1968) (Girl with a Pistol) which did have some British backing. She then went on to appear in various British movies, mainly of the comedy or horror genre, most famously the lead role in Lust for a Vampire (1971), as well as several television guest roles.
But after mentioning she had 'a six-month stint hosting a game show with British king of comedy, Bob Monkhouse', things take a turn for the decidedly impartial:
After struggling with myopic casting directors, who could not see the beauty and budding talent before them and were happier to just keep casting more established but less beautiful women, Yutte finally gave up and emigrated to the USA in the mid-seventies and took up a job selling air time for a Christian radio station in Oregan [sic].
It then diverts lapses into overt snobbery–despite the author acknowledging her main claim to fame was playing a vampires countess. Once.
Understandably reluctant to make appearances at horror conventions when British film publicists finally started to notice her when it was too late, she did relent and start appearing at a select few in the late 1990s, giving the non-fickle amongst her fans a chance to see her unique radiance once more.
If you thought the slavish adoration of her appearance (at the expense of her acting talents) stopped there, you'd be wrong!
An inimitable beauty the likes of which has never been seen since, Yutte Stensgaard was possibly the biggest loss to movies since that of Sharon Tate.
And that how it wraps up. Going by this summation, it's hard to fathom how cinema's thrived without Yutte's glowing presence.
The Tate comparison–perhaps inadvertently, going by the author's critical ability–provides another vampire connection. Tate starred in Roman Polanski's 1967 film, Dance of the vampires. However, 'loss' probably wasn't the greatest choice of words, given the circumstances of their departure.
After all, Stengaard merely dropped out of the film industry; Tate was brutally murdered by the Manson Family in 1969. Dez could've shown some restraint with that one.