Alexandra Bastedo

Alexandra Lendon Bastedo (9 March 1946 – 12 January 2014) was a British actress, best known for her role as secret agent Sharron Macready in the 1968 British espionage/science fiction adventure series The Champions. Bastedo was a vegetarian and animal welfare advocate, and wrote a number of books on both subjects.[1]

Alexandra Bastedo
Alexandra Bastedo The Champions 1968.jpg
Bastedo in The Champions, 1968
Born
Alexandra Lendon Bastedo

(1946-03-09)9 March 1946
Hove, Sussex, England
Died12 January 2014(2014-01-12) (aged 67)
Worthing, England
Occupation(s)Actress and writer
Years active1962–2014
Spouse
(m. 1980; died 2013)

Early lifeEdit

Bastedo was born in Hove, England. Her mother (Liberiana Dorina Rescagliova 1917–2001) was of French, German and Italian descent, while her Canadian-born father (Gilbert Lendon Bastedo 1915–1985) was of Spanish, Dutch, Scottish and native American extraction.[2] She attended Brighton and Hove High School and Brighton School of Drama.[2]

Professional careerEdit

Bastedo made her film debut as one of the title characters in William Castle's poorly received 13 Frightened Girls (1963). She gained attention on the European continent, earning her the nickname, "La Bastedo". One of her first appearances in popular culture was in the 1966 film Doctor in Clover where she appears as a young nurse dancing with Sir Lancelot at a party (a non-speaking role).

Although most familiar to viewers of 1960s TV as Sharron Macready in The Champions, she was also known for her language skills, speaking Italian, Spanish, French and German. This ability brought her to the attention of 10 Downing Street, where she was employed to assist with translations, and landed her the role of co-presenter of Miss World competitions with Peter Marshall in the 1980s.

In 1979, she played in the series The Aphrodite Inheritance. In 1988, Bastedo was the cover star for Rank, a live album by British band The Smiths that charted at number 2 on the UK Albums Chart. In 1992, she appeared in "Fat" – the second broadcast episode of Absolutely Fabulous, playing a 1960s model associate of Edina and Patsy. She was seen in two episodes of The Saint series, alongside Roger Moore.

In 2006, Bastedo was reunited for the first time with her co-stars from The Champions to provide commentaries and an interview for a DVD release of the show. Still working as an actress, she appeared in Batman Begins, and touring theatres in 2006 with a production of Beyond Reasonable Doubt alongside Leslie Grantham and Simon Ward. In 2008, she joined the cast of EastEnders, playing Cynthia.[3][4] In January 2008, she appeared as co-presenter (with Ed Stewart) of "The Magic of Mantovani" at Lighthouse, Poole. The success of this concert led, the following year, to a second concert at the same venue, with the Mantovani Orchestra, which she again co-presented.

Personal lifeEdit

Bastedo dated David Frost and Omar Sharif, but turned down the advances of Steve McQueen who, she recalled, propositioned her with the line, "My wife doesn't understand me". In the case of Sharif, the liaison lasted only a few weeks because of the actor's bridge-playing, his odd hours and the fact that he took telephone numbers from other women.[5]

Mike Tomkies, the Fleet Street journalist who abandoned the life of a celebrity reporter to live alone in the wilderness, lived with her for a while in Canada, and they talked of marriage, but she was prohibited from marrying by a contract for The Champions (1968 to 69). He said that she was the "most stunningly beautiful creature" he had ever seen.[6]

In 1980, at Chichester Cathedral, Bastedo married Patrick Garland,[7] a director, writer and actor; he became a long-serving director of the Chichester Festival Theatre.[8] Bastedo wrote a memoir, Beware Dobermanns, Donkeys and Ducks, as well as several books on caring for cats and dogs. Her husband died on 19 April 2013.[9]

Animal welfareEdit

Bastedo was a vegetarian and the founder of Alexandra Bastedo Champions (ABC) Animal Sanctuary.[10][11] In an interview for the BBC television series Where Are They Now? Bastedo provided a glimpse into her private life. She used to be the president of her local RSPCA branch but gave up her position in 2008, to dedicate more time to her fast-growing animal sanctuary at her home in West Chiltington, West Sussex.[12][13] A journalist who interviewed her husband in 2010 described their domestic surroundings:

[W]e sit in his Sussex garden looking towards a small lake with a jetty and a battered rowing boat – a perfect pastoral scene which could be a stage set. He lives with his wife, the actress Alexandra Bastedo, who remains startlingly beautiful, a couple of Dobermans, some territorial cats, and a menagerie of horses, donkeys, pigs and goats – Bastedo runs an animal sanctuary. Garland's domain is largely inside the house where he closes doors to keep animals out of rooms lined with 12,000 books.[14]

She was also a patron to a number of animal welfare organisations including Compassion in World Farming, Wildlife Aid Foundation, National Animal Welfare Trust, Greyhounds in Need and Naturewatch.[1]

DeathEdit

Bastedo died of breast cancer on 12 January 2014, aged 67, in a hospital in Worthing, England.[15] She was buried next to her husband Patrick Garland at St Mary's Church, Sullington, West Sussex. The service was conducted by her local vicar and friend, Revd Derek Spencer, who had overseen the funeral of her husband Patrick less than one year earlier.

BibliographyEdit

  • Alexandra Bastedo, Beware Dobermanns, Donkeys and Ducks (Parkwest: Robson Books, 1998) ISBN 9780860519737
  • Alexandra Bastedo and Jeannie Kemnitzer, Canine Care and Cuisine: The Healthy Dog Book (Parkwest: Robson Books, 2000) ISBN 9781861051189
  • Alexandra Bastedo and Jeannie Kemnitzer, The Healthy Cat Book: Feline Care and Cuisine (Parkwest: Robson Books, 2000) ISBN 9781861051783

FilmographyEdit

  • 13 Frightened Girls (aka The Candy Web) (1963) – Alex
  • The Liquidator (1965) – Radio Operator (uncredited)
  • Doctor in Clover (1966) – Nurse at Party (uncredited)
  • That Riviera Touch (1966) – Girl at Roulette Table
  • Casino Royale (1967) – Meg
  • Wedding Night (1970) – Gloria – Girl Friend
  • My Lover, My Son (1970) – Cicely Clarkson
  • This, That and the Other (1970) – Angie
  • The Kashmiri Run (1970) - Henrietta Fleming
  • The Blood Spattered Bride (1972) – Mircalla Karstein
  • I Hate My Body (1974) – Leda Schmidt
  • The Ghoul (1975) – Angela
  • El Clan de los Nazarenos (1975) – Arima
  • Tu dios y mi infierno (1976) – Liselotte
  • Find the Lady (1976) – Victoria
  • The Man Inside (1976, TV movie) – Joan Lytton
  • La Gioconda está triste (1977)
  • El Mirón (1977) – Elena – wife
  • Cabo de vara (1978) - Lola
  • Stigma (1980) – Anna
  • A Choice of Two (1981)
  • Draw! (1984, TV movie) – Bess, Harry's Girlfriend in Bell City / member of acting troupe
  • La veritat oculta (1987) – Agnes / Chiromancer
  • The Byzantine Cat (2002) - Barbara
  • Batman Begins (2005) – Gotham Society Dame

TelevisionEdit

RadioEdit

  • Halloween Party by Agatha Christie, BBC radio 1993
  • Five Little Pigs by Agatha Christie, BBC radio 1994
  • Elephants Can Remember by Agatha Christie, dramatised by Michael Bakewell, BBC radio 2006

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Alexandra Bastedo". ABC Animal Sanctuary. Archived from the original on 23 July 2013.
  2. ^ a b Steven, Alasdair (14 January 2014). "Obituary: Alexandra Bastedo, actress". The Scotsman. Archived from the original on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 11 October 2019.
  3. ^ News report on Bastedo
  4. ^ Article in The Mirror Online about Bastedo
  5. ^ "Alexandra Bastedo – obituary". The Telegraph. 3 January 2014.
  6. ^ "Mike Tomkies, writer and adventurer – obituary". The Telegraph. 15 November 2016.
  7. ^ "Patrick Garland, theatre producer and director, dies aged 78", BBC News, 20 April 2013
  8. ^ Who's Who (annually), entry for Patrick Garland
  9. ^ "Theatre director Patrick Garland dies", telegraph.co.uk, 19 April 2013
  10. ^ "Alexandra Bastedo".
  11. ^ "Alexandra Bastedo Biography".
  12. ^ Alexandra Bastedo Champions Animal Sanctuary
  13. ^ Brighton screen star's goats eat magic mushrooms
  14. ^ Penny Wark, The Oldie, November 2010
  15. ^ "Alexandra Bastedo dies aged 67". BBC News. 13 January 2014.

External linksEdit