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MODEL ACTRESS: AN INTERVIEW WITH CHRISTINA GREGG

William Campbell & Christina Gregg in The Young Racers

Christina Gregg turned up in a handful of British movies and television shows from 1959 to 1964, and was one of England's top models at the same time... And we asked some questions about those years where she juggled two trades that combined immense talent and beauty... 

START IN MODELING & ACTING: I won a huge beauty contest when I was 17… Miss ABC Television… I would have won Miss Great Britain as well, but they told me I was too young to win! With this prize was a film test with Robert Day, director of Women Magazine, leading to a theatrical coach, Flossy Freedman, who also helped train Marlon Brando, and Angela Lansbury! 

I was provided with an agent, so I had film training, and films came my way afterwards. Modeling took off with the cover of Women magazine, a huge circulation at that time, followed by many more. But it was not an advantage to be advertising products and acting at the same time… I lost opportunities because of this; however, I needed to earn money so I continued: Did advertisement commercials for Camay soap, which cost me a big part in a film.  

Christina Gregg and Roger Moore on THE SAINT from 1963

THE SAINT: Roger Moore was an utter gentleman, very funny, always kind and understanding and helpful to me as such a young girl at that time. Of course I was in awe of him to a degree.

DIRECTOR LANCE COMFORT: With all the different parts I played there was never ever any pass made by director Lance Comfort (THE BREAK and RAG DOLL). He was always helpful. I was so young and indeed naive that I must have seemed very different to many other actors at that time… And I remember working with Mel Ferrer and the director [not Lance Comfort] asked him how Audrey was. I thought oh he means Audrey Hepburn! He reminded me to always know my lines, as I was not with him in response for a scene at that time: no doubt, nerves!

Pop star Jess Conrad with Christina Gregg in Lance Comfort's RAG DOLL from 1961

RAG DOLL: If I remember correctly, this was with the singer Jess Conrad, who had just become a big hit. Don’t feel we actually got on very well… he was very full of his recent success and no doubt felt that I was next in line.

THE BREAK: At times that was nerve-racking as much was filmed at night, and there most certainly were frightening aspects to some of the scenes. Again, a cast of English actors who were all friendly and helpful to a young girl.

Christina Gregg plays a vulnerable young teen in DON'T TALK TO STRANGE MEN (1963)

SEDUCTION BY PHONE IN DON’T TALK TO STRANGE MEN: A phone-box was quite normal then; it’s difficult to visualize now! As an actress one just became part of the moment.... capturing the tension that slowly developed the character of the film.

INTENSITY OF COVER GIRL KILLER: It’s hard to revisit the emotions of youth. I was very young then, 18, so I am not sure, but remember this was a different time and life was generally very protected if you were young, not like today. I would have been absorbed into the character and taking each scene as it came. I also had that wonderful drama coach, Flossie Freedman.

ROGER CORMAN'S THE YOUNG RACERS: The Young Racers did seem to be an opportunity as it was an American feel at the time… I wished I had a bigger part, which is difficult to make happen unless there is more to work with in character.

Cover of Christina Gregg's Exercise Album from 1978

LEAVING ACTING: Well I got married very young, 22... Had a husband who did not want me in films. Difficult profession as one is often at the studios at 6 am and back late, so unless your partner is understanding, like helping with lines, it's very difficult to continue. As my then agent Dennis Salinger said, it would be very difficult, and I had my sons young as well for that time. He was alright about modeling as that was an easy day by comparison.

As you know I was on so many covers and endless work. At that time there were probably only about 10 top models, and we worked all the time. So although I wished I had not stopped acting, somehow life does change and different passages start in life. I did my exercise record, Music and Motion, which was a Silver Record.

Centered are Christopher Plummer and Christina Gregg (Christina Blair) with husband Lyle

WORDS FOR THE LATE CHRISTOPHER PLUMMER: I started the Shakespeare Globe Centre of Canada some 30 years ago. Christopher Plummer was a great supporter for me… We had an award each year in Christopher’s name, The Christopher Plummer Award…This was for a Canadian Actor who went through the audition process, and then we paid for their trip to London to study on the Globe Stage for 4 weeks. I was introduced to Sam Wanamaker several years before he died raising funds for the theatre. This is just briefly a part of my life. The picture with Christopher was some 15 years ago… As you know he slipped on ice and died 8 days ago. Tragic loss.

THE MINSTREL FOUNDATION CHARITY: Started in England with fund-raising for the reconstruction of the Globe Theatre with Sam Wanamaker, called The Minstrel Foundation in Toronto, bringing music and camps for inner city youth… While we spent many years at our home on Hilton Head Island, we started the annual fundraiser with Stan Smith the Wimbledon champion, and for the local Boys & Girls Club we have now raised several million dollars. In reviewing it’s been a busy life!

With Robert Urquhart in THE BREAK from 1963
With Roger Moore on THE SAINT from 1963
Christina Gregg on THE SAINT from 1963 episode The Gentle Ladies

Christina Gregg on THE SAINT from 1963 episode The Gentle Ladies
Christina Gregg on THE SAINT from 1963 episode The Gentle Ladies
Christina Gregg on THE SAINT from with ROGER MOORE
 Janina Faye and Christina Gregg in DON'T TALK TO STRANGE MEN
Christina Gregg in DON'T TALK TO STRANGE MEN
Christina Gregg faces death in COVER GIRL KILLER
A recent photo of the beautiful and timeless CHRISTINA GREGG
Christina Gregg's book BEAUTY MY WAY circa 1977 front cover
Christina Gregg's book BEAUTY MY WAY circa 1977 back cover
Christina Gregg in Lance Comfort's thriller THE BREAK
Christina Gregg in Lance Comfort's thriller THE BREAK
Christina Gregg in DON'T TALK TO STRANGE MEN
Christina Gregg in DON'T TALK TO STRANGE MEN
Christina Gregg in DON'T TALK TO STRANGE MEN

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