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Camden News - By DAN CARRIER
Published: 3 September 2009

Sadie in her younger days
Final curtain for the tiny star who shone onto the big screen

Tributes as 4ft 1ins actress Sadie Corré, panto cat and Rocky Horror star dies aged 91

SHE wasn’t the best known among the actors who call Camden home, but Sadie Corré had an unrivalled cult following and a glittering CV to make fellow thespians envious. Plus, she could dance the Timewarp better than any of them!
The 4ft 1ins actress who played a Transylvanian in the Rocky Horror Picture Show died in a nursing home two weeks ago, aged 91. She had lived for 50 years in Russell Court buildings in Russell Square, Bloomsbury, and was a familiar face in Camden Town where she liked to shop in the market.
Yesterday (Wednesday), stars of the stage fondly recalled a career which included treading the boards with legends such as Arthur Askey and Max Miller, to movie roles, including a fuzzy-faced Ewok in Star Wars and a Womble in Wombling Free.
Primrose Hill-based actress Patricia Quinn, who played Magenta in the 1975 film of Rocky Horror, said: “I recall the first day I saw Sadie – the cast looked so amazing. They were all rehearsing the Timewarp. I nearly fell over. They were simply stunning. There was Sadie, the smallest lady in the group and she was breathtaking – unbelievable, and always such a joy to be with. Her presence in the line-up was great, and she was incredibly popular among the Transylvanians. This was shown by the fact she was always being asked to go to Rocky Horror conventions.”
Away from Rocky Horror, Ms Quinn revealed how well respected Sadie was on stage. “Her cat costume, which she used in pantos, was perhaps the most famous cat costume in the world,” she said. “She was a total professional and would feed other actors their lines on stage if they stumbled.”
Actor Christopher
Biggins appeared alongside Sadie in the Rocky Horror Show and became a life-long friend. He told the New Journal: “She was extraordinary – she had become famous for playing animals in pantos but sadly she was never my pussy.”
Mr Biggins lived near her while they were filming Rocky Horror, for which they were paid £100 each for 10 weeks’ work. He would pick her up at 6am each morning and drive her to the set.
He added: “I remember her thinking we were all quite mad on Rocky. We were all quite a lot younger than her but she entered into the spirit of this bizarre film. We remained good friends ever since then.”
Rocky Horror fan Stephanie Freeman helps run Time Warp, the official UK fan club for the Rocky Horror Show. She recalled meeting Sadie at a book launch at the
Royal Court Theatre.
“She was utterly unique in the cast line-up, and was a difficult act for others to follow,” said Ms Freeman. “She was instantly recognisable and while everyone there had their own little niche, you can’t but help notice Sadie. When Frank N Furter goes along the line and then drops down to her level – it’s one of those moments in the film people remember. She’ll be greatly missed.”

Pier into the future...

DESPITE her height of only 4ft 1ins, Sadie Corré overcame prejudices to become one of this country’s greatest ever pantomime cats, had cult status with her performance in Rocky Horror Show movie and appeared with such legendary film names as Marlene Dietrich and Richard Tauber.
Sadie was born in 1918 in Bognor, Sussex. Her first appearance was aged seven on the Palace Pier, Brighton, and her first professional appearance, aged 12, was as Trouble in Madam Butterfly at Streatham Hill Theatre. She used to say with a smile that her friends said she has been trouble ever since. Audiences remarked on her acting ability when crying, but did not know it was soprano Joan Cross trying to make her laugh. In return, Sadie got her own back on Joan whilst she was singing One Fine Day, when she did her best to make her laugh. That sense of fun was to be her hallmark for the next eight decades. Her next appearance was Where the Rainbow Ends, at the Holborn Empire. Films at the time included child roles with Dietrich and Tauber.
She enrolled at the Italia Conti stage school and did an 11-month spell in 1931 at the Drury Lane theatre in Noel Coward’s Cavalcade. The great playwright became a friend.
Sadie’s talents as a tap dancer and comedienne were recognised and she worked during the 30s in various other West End shows. In 1937, Hughie Green spotted her and took her onboard his popular comedy revue.
When war broke out, she entertained troops at bases across the country with the ENSA.
In 1947, while at the Gateshead Empire there was a call from Hughie Green to find out if she was interested in touring with him in a new show called Opportunity Knocks. When Sadie asked Hughie about rehearsals, he told her to “just do what you did 10 years ago”.
Her popularity was such that she spent most of the 40s and 50s on the road with variety tours, as well as finding work during the pantomime season – and finding a role which her name became intertwined with. As a panto cat, she was without peer. In 1960, Norman Wisdom employed her to work with him at the London Palladium in his show Turn Again Whittington. Other names she lined up alongside included Arthur Askey, Spike Milligan and Tommy Cooper.
Sadie was also an accomplished screen actress. She appeared in Star Wars, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, The Dark Crystal, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Brazil. Her role as a dancer in the film of The Rocky Horror Show (1974) gave her cult status and was in demand at film conventions . In her 80s she continued to be a star of the internet on the Rocky Horror website.
Sadie worked on behalf of fellow artists as an active supporter of the Grand Order of Lady Ratlings and also sat on the Board of the Variety Artists Federation.
In 2007 this independent lady suffered a serious stroke and went into a care home in St John’s Wood but still managed to bring a smile to staff and visitors.

* Glen Barnham is a retired former Equity officer

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