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PASSINGS / Robert Quarry

Actor in '70s horror films

March 02, 2009|Times staff and wire reports

Robert Quarry, 83, a prolific actor best known for his horror-movie roles as Count Yorga and the Deathmaster, died Feb. 20 at the Motion Picture & Television Fund Hospital in Woodland Hills, a hospital spokeswoman said. He had heart trouble in recent years.

In a stretch of a few years during the 1970s, Quarry made his mark in a series of B-movies for American International Pictures, starting with the title role in "Count Yorga, Vampire" in 1970. Former Times film writer Kevin Thomas described Quarry as an actor "in the suavely sinister tradition of Bela Lugosi" and said the vampire movie had "an ingratiating off-the-cuff spontaneity."

Quarry followed up with "The Return of Count Yorga" in 1971 and then played Khorda in "The Deathmaster" in 1972. Quarry starred opposite Vincent Price in "Dr. Phibes Rises Again" in 1972 and in "Madhouse" in 1974.

As a tribute to his performances, Quarry won the Count Dracula Society's 1972 cinema award for his portrayals of Count Yorga.

Born Nov. 3, 1925, in Santa Rosa, Quarry had a long acting career in theater and television in addition to movies. He had roles in many TV series, including "The Fugitive," "Perry Mason" and "The Rockford Files."

Out of work during most of the 1980s after a serious car accident, Quarry returned to acting in a stream of independent and straight-to-video movies for low-budget director Fred Olen Ray in the late '80s and the 1990s.

Quarry also began appearing at horror-movie conventions, connecting with fans of Yorga and his other roles.

"He wasn't one of those who was rediscovered too late," Ray said. "He had a great, full life."

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