Hilary Heath, Horror Film Actress Opposite Vincent Price, Dies of Coronavirus at 74

She also produced films starring Gary Oldman and Hugh Grant

Hilary Heath obit Witchfinder
American International Pictures

Hilary Heath, an actress and producer who starred opposite Vincent Price in horror movies in the late 1960s and early ’70s, has died of the coronavirus. She was 74.

Heath appeared in three British horror films with Price, which were released by Amerian International Pictures — 1968’s “Witchfinder General,” 1969’s “The Oblong Box” and 1970’s “Cry of the Banshee.”

Her death was confirmed by her godson, Alex Williams, in a post on Facebook.

“We lost my wonderful Godmother Hilary Heath to Covid-19 last week,” Williams wrote. “Hilary had many careers, starting out as a screen and stage actress in the 1960s and 1970s, and then re-inventing herself as a producer in the 1990s, making films like Nil by Mouth (Gary Oldman) and An Awfully Big Adventure (Hugh Grant, Alan Rickman). Her most remarkable re-invention came in her mid-60s, when she won a master’s degree from Oxford in psychology and became an addiction counsellor, specialising [sic] in CBT. She worked at clinics all over the world, often for free, often with very deprived and distressed individuals, and she regarded this as her most valuable work by far. She was a force of nature, and I can’t bear it that she is no longer with us.”

In “Witchfinder General” (titled “The Conqueror Worm” in the U.S.), about the witch-hunting exploits of Matthew Hopkins (Price), Heath, who then went by her maiden name of Dwyer, played Sara, an English soldier’s fiancée who is preyed on by Hopkins.

In “The Oblong Box,” which gets its title from the coffin involved in the main character’s plot to fake his own death, Heath plays the fiance pf Price’s character. In 1970’s “Cry of the Banshee,” which also revolves around a coven of witches, she plays the free-spirited Maureen Whitman.

She also appeared in 1969’s “Two Gentlemen Sharing” and 1970 adaptation of “Wuthering Heights” starring Timothy Dalton.