The World of Susan George
She’s dated Prince Charles and Jimmy Connors, starred in one of the most controversial films ever made and now, at 50, she’s joining EastEnders as a con-woman.
Susan’s most famous and controversial role was as Amy, the wife of an American intellectual played by Dustin Hoffman. The couple move to Cornwall in search of a quiet life, only to be terrorised by drunken locals in Sam Peckinpah’s menacing 1971 movie Straw Dogs.
The film descends into an orgy of gratuitous violence, including Amy’s rape. Making the film was very stressful for Susan. She recalls Sam throwing knives at her like in a music-hall act while she waited to protest to him about the treatment of the rape scene and how much bare flesh she should show. She has since described Straw Dogs as ‘horrific’.
Her teddy collection
There are 50 teddy bears in Susan’s collection and she takes one called Merrick, who was given to her by a colleague in 1984, with her everywhere. When she realised she’d forgotten him on a trip to Vancouver, she had him sent out to her by courier.
Husband Simon gave her a bear made of mink named Elgin, which one of her Irish setter puppies chewed the nose off. Elgin had to go to the US for repairs. The bears are now kept in a display cabinet.
ON HER EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY FROM ‘STRAW DOGS’ TO ALBERT SQUARE
Albert Square seems an improbable address for Susan George, but for three “exhilarating” months the English rose actress made it home. You’d normally link Susan not with cockney parlours but with the finer things of country life – with rose-painted china, red setters and the Arab horses she now breeds on a Northamptonshire farm.
Susan made her young name huge in Hollywood, starred in Straw Dogs at 21 and was romanced by the Prince of Wales. At that stage, plum parts in Dynasty and The Colbys were hers for the signing, but Susan always said “no” to soap. But now, six years after she last appeared in front of the camera, the blonde once named among the world’s 100 all-time sexiest actresses has embraced her EastEnders role as if to Bow bells born.
“When my agent rang to say I’d been offered the guest-starring role of Margaret,” says Susan, “she did first ask if I was sitting down. But I was already a fan and I’ve absolutely loved it. I’ve just finished my studio run and I miss everyone already. I enjoy the buzz, the energy, that whole other life. Joining EastEnders is like joining a family.”
HOSTS GLITTERING GALA AT HORSE OF THE YEAR SHOW
Actress Susan George marked the end of the Horse of the Year Show by hosting a celebrity gala dinner on behalf of Grandstand Media.
Susan, who is honorary president of the show and a keen equestrian, welcomed a galaxy of stars to the black-tie event at Wembley Arena. One of the highlights of the evening was when Susan’s husband Simon MacCorkindale, who had flown back from filming in Canada especially for the event, recited Ode To The Horse to the assembled celebrity guests.
The six-day horse-fest is the high point of the show-jumping season and this year attracted 45,000 visitors.