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Annie Ross who starred in The Wicker Man and Superman III dies aged 89

British-American actress and jazz singer Annie Ross who starred in The Wicker Man and Superman III dies aged 89

  • The performer passed away on Tuesday at her home in New York at the age of 89
  • She died from emphysema and heart disease, said her manager Jim Coleman
  • Performer became a jazz singer after touring Europe and turned talents to acting

British-American actress and Jazz singer Annie Ross who starred in The Wicker Man and Superman III has died aged 89. 

The performer passed away at her home in Manhattan, New York, on Tuesday as a result of emphysema and heart disease, according to her manager Jim Coleman.

Ross was born in Mitcham, south London in July 1930 to Scottish vaudeville artists John and Mary Short, who took her to New York when she was four.     

She rose to fame after winning a radio talent show and a film contract, later playing Judy Garland’s sister in the 1943 musical comedy Presenting Lily Mars at 13. 

Annie Ross, above, passed away at her home in Manhattan, New York on Tuesday as a result of emphysema and heart disease, according to her manager Jim Coleman

Ross with Jack Parnell and his band. She toured Europe as a jazz singer and wrote the vocalese song Twisted at the age of 22

Ross with Jack Parnell and his band. She toured Europe as a jazz singer and wrote the vocalese song Twisted at the age of 22

Ross, who began her career as a child star billed as ‘Scotland’s Shirley Temple’, went on to feature in films including Robert Altman’s Short Cuts and Superman III. 

Her voice was also used to replace the vocals of Swedish actress Britt Ekland in Robin Hardy’s 1973 horror The Wicker Man.     

Ross toured Europe as a jazz singer and wrote the vocalese song Twisted at the age of 22, before recording seven albums with singer-songwriter Dave Lambert and jazz lyricist Jon Hendricks.

In 1984 she opened her own nightclub in London, Annie’s Room, alongside her husband, actor Sean Lynch. 

She later launched her acting career, starring in numerous films including Alfie Darling, Straight On till Morning, Funny Money and Superman III. 

Singer Barb Jungr posted on Twitter: ‘RIP the late, great Annie Ross, whom I was lucky enough to be befriended by over my stays & performances in NYC. 

Pictured: Ross stood by a piano in 1965. The singer and actress passed away at her home in Manhattan, New York, on Tuesday

Pictured: Ross stood by a piano in 1965. The singer and actress passed away at her home in Manhattan, New York, on Tuesday

Pictured: Annie Ross in Superman III in 1983

Pictured: Annie Ross

Singer Barb Jungr posted on Twitter: ‘RIP the late, great Annie Ross, whom I was lucky enough to be befriended by over my stays & performances in NYC.’ Pictured: Ms Ross

Pictured: Annie Ross as Velma Hardy in ITV's 'Send in the Girls: Goosepimples', TV Stories of girls on a Sales Promotion Team

Pictured: Annie Ross as Velma Hardy in ITV’s ‘Send in the Girls: Goosepimples’, TV Stories of girls on a Sales Promotion Team

‘They broke the mould. It’s raining in her honour in Scotland, I hope the Great Bar In The Sky is ready for a great woman with soul and swing.’

Gill Parry, the producer of No One But Me – a 2012 documentary film about Ross – also paid tribute to the ‘extraordinary woman’.

She told the BBC: ‘She lived for jazz, loved music and musicians, was massively talented, funny, classy, sharp, glamorous, cool.

‘Annie was a cultural trailblazer, but above everything she was a moving and important singer and lyricist who inhabited her songs and came alive on stage.

‘Annie lived a jazz life, and she inspired great friendship and devotion along the way.’

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