Melissa Stribling

Melissa Stribling (7 November 1926 – 22 March 1992) was a Scottish film and television actress. She is best known for playing the role of Mina Holmwood in the horror film Dracula (1958).

Melissa Stribling
Melissa Stribling.jpg
Melissa Stribling Smith[1]

(1926-11-07)7 November 1926[1]
Gourock, Scotland
Died22 March 1992(1992-03-22) (aged 65)
Spouse(s)Basil Dearden


Born in Gourock, Scotland as Melissa Stribling Smith, her career began with a small role in the film The First Gentleman (1948).[2] Stribling is known for playing the role of Mina Holmwood in the horror film Dracula (1958) starring Christopher Lee in the title role.[3] In the 1960s and 1970s, she guest-starred in the TV series Benny Hill (1963), ITV Play of the Week, The Avengers, The Persuaders!, The Dick Emery Show, and The New Avengers.[4] Her last appearance was in the film Paris by Night (1988) with Charlotte Rampling.[5]

In the film Dracula, her character was the victim of a vampire in what can be seen as an erotically charged performance.[6] Dracula and Mina showing sexual pleasure in this way was a first in British cinema.[7]

Terence Fisher remembers her asking him how to play the scene. Terence replied, saying that she should imagine that she had one whale of a sexual night and that it should be shown on her face.[8] The author Mark Clark detailed the first encounter between Dracula and Mina in his book Smirk, sneer, and scream: great acting in horror cinema which he described as an implied erotic scene.[9] Jonathan Rigby complimented her performance in his book English gothic: a century of horror cinema, saying that she is a terrific female lead throughout the film.[10] Terence Fisher said that he told her that she produced a satisfied little facial expression that speaks volumes.[7]


She was married to Basil Dearden; their son is James Dearden, also a film director. Their younger son is Torquil Dearden, a London-based editor at a company specialising in commercials and corporate videos.[11]


Year Title J Notes
1952 The First Gentleman Lady Conyngham
1952 Wide Boy Caroline
1952 Crow Hollow Diana Wilson
1952 Ghost Ship Party Girl (Vera)
1953 Decameron Nights Girl in Villa
1953 Noose for a Lady Vanessa Lane
1954 Thought to Kill Mary
1955 Out of the Clouds Jean Osmond
1956 Behind the Headlines Mary Carrick
1957 Murder Reported Amanda North
1958 The Safecracker Angela
1958 Dracula Mina Holmwood
1959 The Adventures of William Tell Countess Von Markhein Episode 'The Young Widow'
1960 The League of Gentlemen Peggy
1961 The Secret Partner Helen Standish
1968 Only When I Larf Diana
1968 Journey into Darkness Helen Ames (episode 'The New People')
1970 The Persuaders! Lisa Koestler Episode: "Powerswitch"
1971 Crucible of Terror Joanna Brent
1974 Confessions of a Window Cleaner Mrs. Villiers
1976 Feelings Charlotte Randall
1988 Paris by Night Lady Boeing (final film role)


  1. ^ a b Pendreigh, Brian (10 May 2008). "Once bitten...", Herald Scotland; retrieved 30 May 2015.
  2. ^ a b "Melissa Stribling". BFI.
  3. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Dracula (1958)".
  4. ^ "Melissa Stribling".
  5. ^ Kinsey, Wayne (2002). Hammer films: the Bray Studio years. Reynolds & Hearn. ISBN 978-1-903111-44-4.
  6. ^ J. Hogan, David (1997). Dark romance: sexuality in the horror film. McFarland. p. 46. ISBN 978-0-7864-0474-2. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  7. ^ a b Harper, Sue; Porter, Vincent (2007). British Cinema of the 1950s: The Decline of Deference. Oxford University Press. p. 149. ISBN 978-0-19-815935-3. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  8. ^ Hutchings, Peter (2001). Terence Fisher. Manchester University Press. p. 120. ISBN 978-0-7190-5637-6. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  9. ^ Clark, Mark (2004). Smirk, sneer, and scream: great acting in horror cinema. McFarland. p. 122. ISBN 978-0-7864-1932-6. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  10. ^ Rigby, Jonathan (2004). English gothic: a century of horror cinema. Reynolds & Hearn. p. 67. ISBN 978-1-903111-79-6. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  11. ^ Quinlan, David (1983). The illustrated guide to film directors. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 70. ISBN 978-0-389-20408-4. Retrieved 16 June 2010.

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