Don Taylor and Hazel Court

Don Taylor was a film actor who had or developed an interest in Film Direction – and so became a quite successful Film Director.   His second wife was the English ‘Hammer Films’ actress Hazel Court.

They had both appeared in Hammer Film Productions in England in the 50 s but actually met whilst filming a TV episode of an Alfred Hitchcock Presents series – an episode called ‘The Crocodile Case’ in 1958

When this picture below was taken Don Taylor was married to his first wife Phyllis Avery  and is with his  two daughters Avery and Ann. He had just finished with Men of Sherwood Forest which was released in November 1954. Filmed in England.

Don Taylor and His Family at Home

They were divorced in 1955 – not long after this family picture appeared in the Film Show Annual

Men of Sherwood Forest 1954

Above: Men of Sherwood Forest 1954 – The first Hammer Film to be made in Colour

Hazel Court had been married to Dermot Walsh the Actor by whom she had a daughter but they were divorced in 1963.

She had a long career with Hammer Films and it seems she was their biggest female star.

Hazel Court


Hazel Court 2

Above – Enjoying a Canteen Lunch with Christopher Lee while filming The Curse of Frankenstein 1957

Before this though she had been in films such as Holiday Camp – a film I really like – and in this scene she is pulling away from Dennis Price – and a good thing she did because, if you know the film, he is not someone that it is healthy to be around.

Holiday Camp

Hazel Court and Dennis Price in Holiday Camp – above

She was born in Sutton Coldfield in Birmingham.  She studied acting at the London Academy of Dramatic Art, which led to a contract, aged 18, with the Rank Organisation. In her first film, Champagne Charlie (1944), an affectionate homage to the Victorian music hall, she had one line: “I never drank champagne before.”

Hazel Court took leading roles in her next two films: Dreaming (1945), opposite Flanagan and Allen, and Gaiety George (1946), another period musical.

Holiday Camp (1948) was  the film that brought the Huggett family to the screen, and she  played the  daughter of Jack Warner who finds romance in Whitby with Jimmy Hanley.

The following year, she married the Irish actor Dermot Walsh, and co-starred with him in three  second features.

After The Curse of Frankenstein, Court’s second role for Hammer was The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959), also directed by Fisher. Anton Diffring played a sculptor who had found a way of stopping the ageing process so that he was around 70 years older than he looked.

From the late 1950s, Hazel Court was a frequent guest star on American television series including Dr Kildare, The Dick Powell Show and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, in one episode of which her disgruntled husband (Laurence Harvey) grinds her up for chicken feed.

She married  actor-director Don Taylor in 1964 (the year after her divorce from Dermot Walsh), and  settled in California permanently.

After  Don Taylor’s death in 1998, Hazel Court devoted most of her time to charitable activities, her hobbies of painting and sculpture and to her three children (two from her second marriage), who survive her.

Hazel Court did write her autobiography, Hazel Court – Horror Queen  published by Tomahawk Press.

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