Remembering Mary Tamm

PrintE-mail Written by Whitney Scott Bain / Louise Jameson / Paul Mount

Mary Tamm

"It is a truly sad day for us all with the passing of Mary Tamm.

I first met Mary at a Doctor Who convention several years ago in Los Angeles where long time friend, Louise Jameson was attending. Louise hadn't arrived yet, so I decided to hang out near registration and this beautiful woman and I made eye contact.

It was Mary Tamm. 

She came up to me and we started talking about our mutual friend, Louise. I discovered that Mary didn't have an escort for the show, so I walked up to registration and told them I'm assisting Mary this weekend and they gave me a VIP pass.

I gave Mary a devilish grin waving my badge that she exchanged back admiring my boldness. The connection we made together that weekend made us feel like we were old souls.

Louise and her friend, David, finally arrived and the four of us get together for drinks laughing and talking. David is a fine actor and director as well as an incredibly nice guy.

Mary ended up giving some lively talks on her panels and graciously spent time with each of her fans in the autograph room. The Doctor Who fans were very polite and walked away with big smiles on their faces after meeting her. But then again she always had that warm effect on people.

I drove Mary around on her down time and showed her the local sites such as the Proud Bird near the Los Angeles Airport. It’s a World War II themed restaurant with full size, replica aircraft from that time period placed around its grounds you could walk by and read about. We had lunch there and Mary was quite impressed with it.

Later, we stopped by a local chemist shop that specialized in vitamins that she was interested in. The house cat that was inside gravitated towards her where she picked it up and began petting it. Even the chemist said that his cat's never done anything like that before, but you could tell that Mary was a true animal lover and they can sense that.

After the convention, Mary and I stayed in touch via email for several years where we would exchange jokes with each other. She had a very funny sense of humour.

Mary was an accomplished writer as well as having scripted a comedy with Jim Carey in mind. She also did some detective work for me and placed me in touch with my childhood hero, Edward Judd before his untimely passing. Truly, this was a woman who had a heart of gold and would help her friends.

We had talked about the possibility of her reprising her character Romana on the new Doctor Who series which she would have enjoyed. Fans still ponder the thought of her playing Romana and then all of a sudden she becomes Princess Strella. We had come up with an idea that she was secretly a Time Lord and had her memory erased because she was being sought after by the Daleks for some hidden information. She agreed that made sense and would work. It definitely would have made an exciting episode.

Mary was a good friend. She was smart, witty and a classy woman all around. She loved the characters she portrayed in Doctor Who and always enjoyed meeting her fans.

I miss her, as all of us do, very much."

Whitney Scott Bain

"Mary, who I knew for 44 years, talented, beautiful and very, very funny will be sadly missed by all who knew her.  You couldn't help but be affected by her charisma and generosity.  Today my phone/email/twitter has been buzzing with tributes from all who met her, even those who knew her all too briefly, writers, actors, directors, producers.  But the main bulk of the mail has been from my class at RADA which is where we first met.  Our hearts go out to those she left behind, especially Marcus who she was very happily married to for over 30 years.  Rest in peace darling woman, we shall hold your memory dear."

Louise Jameson

Mary Tamm

"Another bitter blow for Doctor Who fans, still shocked by the death earlier this month of actress Caroline John, with the news that Mary Tamm, who played Time Lord travelling companion Romana in the 1978 ‘Key To Time’ season, passed away this morning (26th July) at the age of 62. Mary had been battling cancer for 18 months. 

Born in Dewsbury but of Estonian descent, Mary Tamm learned her craft at RADA and began her stage career with the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in 1971. Screen roles quickly followed with appearances in feature films such as The Odessa File (with Jon Voigt) and the TV comedy spin-off The Likely Lads in 1974. In 1978 Mary joined Tom Baker’s fourth Doctor aboard the TARDIS in a season-long quest to find the six scattered segments of the Key To Time which, once assembled, would restore the cosmic balance of Good and Evil. Mary was reluctant to take the role fearing that Romana would become just another ‘damsel in distress’ but was promised by producer Graham Williams that Romana would be the Doctor’s intellectual equal and academic superior. Inevitably after a couple of stories Romana slipped back into the ‘companion’ stereotype and Mary opted not to return to the show for a second season; her character was ‘regenerated’ into actress Lalla Ward.

Mary worked steadily after leaving Doctor Who, cropping up in series such as Crime Traveller, Return of the Saint, the BBC drama The Treachery Game and its sequel The Assassination Run in the early 1980s. Mary enjoyed a four year off-and-on stint in Channel 4 soap Brookside as posh Penny Crosbie, at one point embarking on a torrid fling with soap bad-boy Barry Grant (Paul Usher) and in August 2009 appeared in EastEnders as the exotically-named Orlenda.

Like many classic Doctor Who actors, Mary returned to the fold in later years, reprising her interpretation of Romana in the Big Finish Gallifrey audio series and has more recently reunited with Tom Baker for a brand new series of full-cast audio adventures which have yet to be released. 

Mary Tamm, who published the first volume of her autobiography, First Generation in 2009, is survived by her husband Marcus Ringrose, her daughter Lauren and grandson Max to whom Starburst sends its deepest sympathies."

Paul Mount

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0 #1 Ed Fortune 2014-03-26 06:51
Will we get Zombie Bouncer, that's what I want to know.

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