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.
Ex-love Jack Jones
When she was 21, Susan fell in love with American crooner Jack Jones, whose hits include Lollipops And Roses and The Impossible Dream. He was 13 years older, three times married and relentless in his pursuit after seeing her in Straw Dogs.
‘He was the big love of my life and the man who broke my heart. We were so totally entwined, so inseparable, that we were cocooned together. It was smothering, it was possessive, awful. If he so much as left the room, I’d be wondering when he’d be coming back and I remember the pain of that. We were in each others’ pockets’.
They lived together for five years until he finally left her. Susan was devastated. ‘I shall never forget how, when we broke up, I became a child. Without him, I felt small and totally lost.’
Susan received a surprise invitation to the Prince of Wales’s 30th birthday party at Buckingham Palace and they danced the night away. Soon she was having romantic dinners and theater dates with the bachelor prince.
How far the affair went, Susan will never tell and her discretion ensured her not only a good seat in St Paul’s for the Royal Wedding in 1981, but also Charles’s continuing admiration. The feeling’s mutual. She said: 1 can’t say enough good things about him. He’s a wonderful friend – loyal, trusting, thoughtful, generous and warm.’
Susan and husband Simon breed Arab horses at their stud farm in Northamptonshire and four years ago, in recognition of her contribution to show-jumping, she was made an honorary president of the Horse Of The Year Show, held at Wembley every September.
Last year, Susan launched The Stable Collection of homeopathic remedies for horses. She has also been breeding Irish setters for more than a decade, since the couple’s return to Britain from California.
As her relationship with Jack Jones was in its dying months in 1975, Susan found solace at Wimbledon with reigning Men’s Singles champion Jimmy Connors. She sat beside his mother to watch him win his quarter-final and was seen chewing her fingers with anguish as he lost his title to Arthur Ashe.
Chris Evert, still reeling from her broken engagement to Jimmy, claimed she was put off her stroke in the last set of her singles semi-final against five-times champion Billie Jean King when she saw him and Susan looking down on her from the players’ box. Jimmy denied rumours of a romance with Susan, saying: ‘We’re not having an affair. That’s complete nonsense.’ Two months later, they were spotted sharing a sun lounger on the beach in Bermuda.
Husband Simon MacCorkindale
The pair became involved after Susan cried on Simon’s shoulder over a broken relationship. ‘We became close and within six weeks we’d become best friends. Then we realised it was more than that’. It took 18 months of constant proposals from Simon, who was divorced from actress Fiona Fullerton, for Susan to accept. ‘I was terrified of getting it wrong’.
In 1984, they tied the knot at last in a quiet ceremony in Fiji, followed by a church blessing back home in Berkshire. They now run a film production company named Amy International after her role in Straw Dogs.