Thursday, August 28, 2008

Death Notice: Roberta Collins

Sadly coincident with the release of DEATH RACE (2008), a semi-remake of Paul Bartel's DEATH RACE 2000 (1975), is the untimely passing of cult actress Roberta Collins (pictured above with Fred Grandy). I have no further details but my source is, I'm afraid to tell you, impeccable. Collins was a familiar face in a slew of exploitation films of the 1970s, among them Jack Hill's THE BIG DOLL HOUSE (1970), Gerardo de Leon's WOMEN IN CAGES (1971), Vernon Zimmerman's UNHOLY ROLLERS (1972) and Jonathan Demme's CAGED HEAT (1974). She's probably most famous for playing the Teutonic Matilda the Hun in DEATH RACE 2000 but I always liked her best as the greenhorn hooker in the Harpo Marx wig who runs afoul of Neville Brand's gonzo hotelier early into Tobe Hooper's EATEN ALIVE (1976).

Part Little Red Riding Hood, part Marion Crane, Collins was required here to run a slim gamut of emotions from petrified to terrified but managed to communicate intelligence and allure, even given her unattractive surroundings and grisly demise. She hadn't made a movie in over 20 years but made occasional appearances at conventions. She'll be missed.

6 comments:

The Flying Maciste Brothers said...

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!

Mik said...

Ah, she was my favourite death race competitor by a considerable margin. And I always thought she'd the acting chops and charisma to go further than.

I hope she passed quietly in her sleep or such like.

Ivan said...

I read somewhere that Bartel had shot--but that Corman cut--a monolog of hers in Death Race 2000 where she's considering dropping the Nazi image and coming back as a racer in a nurse's uniform driving a souped-up killer ambulance. I've always wanted to see that footage (if it ever existed).

Stacie Ponder said...

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!"

Took the word right outta my mouth.

Jeremy Richey said...

I just heard this via a bulletin Jack Hill sent out on MySpace and I am just stunned...tragic news.

Scott said...

I only found out the sad news this week. I have created a tribute page for Roberta on MySpace (because I couldn't find anything similar anywhere else).

It can be found at:

http://www.myspace.com/roberta_collins_tribute

I hope other fans will appreciate the chance to pay their respects and celebrate the life and work of this too often overlooked cult actress and loving mother.