A popular British TV and film actress who died last Sunday was no stranger to Prince Albert.
© Submitted photo courtesy of Alexandra Bastedo Champions Animal Sanctuary
British actress and animal welfare advocate Alexandra Bastedo, who died on Sunday at the age of 67, lived in Prince Albert at a very young age and periodically returned throughout the years to visit friends and family.
Best known for her starring role in the 1960s television series The Champions as well as her longtime advocacy for animal welfare, Alexandra Bastedo lived in Prince Albert at a young age and had strong family connections in the area.
Her first cousin Rene Jaspar -- whose mother, Margaret Jaspar (née Bastedo), was a P.A. alderwoman and spent 25 years as a reporter for the Daily Herald -- described the future TV star’s relocation to Prince Albert following her birth in Hove, England in 1946.
“When she was born in England, they came to Canada,” Jaspar said. “They were here for about a year and a half and then they moved to Hove.”
A student at Brighton and Hove High School and later the Brighton School of Drama, the young Bastedo found her way to the silver screen while still a teenager.
In 1963, she made her silver screen debut as one of the title characters in legendary filmmaker William Castle’s Cold War spy film 13 Frightened Girls.
“It was funny because I remember … the first … movie that I saw was 13 Frightened Girls,” Jaspar said.
He added, “Prince Albert was a small town then … and the local Strand Theatre gave me one of the filmstrips out of the movie.”
Bastedo’s knack for languages -- including Italian, French, German and Spanish --helped her attract a following throughout Europe.
In later years, that talent helped her land a spot as a co-presenter in the Miss World broadcasts during the 1980s.
“She spoke a multitude of languages and they called her ‘La Bastedo,’ because she did a lot of Spanish and Italian films as well in Europe,” Jaspar said.
In 1968, Bastedo took on her most famous role as agent Sharron Macready in The Champions, a British program that blended espionage with science fiction and occult elements.
Subsequent years saw her take on numerous roles in film and television, starring alongside the likes of James Coburn, Kirk Douglas and John Candy.
She certainly accomplished a lot in her lifetime. Rene Jaspar
Bastedo also served as a spokesperson for various international companies including Shell and Oil of Olay. Her visage even graced the cover of Rank, a 1988 live album by The Smiths.
Throughout the years, Bastedo would periodically return to the Prince Albert area, often vacationing in Prince Albert National Park with her sister Penny, brother Lindsay and father Len.
“She certainly retained her Canadian citizenship and had a number of relatives in and around Saskatchewan and P.A. and Ontario,” Jaspar noted.
Bastedo’s husband, the late Patrick Garland, was a notable actor, writer and director who also served as the longest-serving director of the Chichester Festival Theatre.
“She lived at home with her parents until she got married some 40 years ago,” Jaspar said. “She met Patrick, but they didn’t get married for 10 years and then they were married for 30 years.
“So she travelled the world, she had an apartment in London. If she was in Canada, she visited her cousins -- a couple cousins in Montreal and in Toronto and Calgary -- and she did a couple of TV movies in Canada on the West Coast.”
As a vegetarian and strong believer in animal welfare, the actress eventually founded the Alexandra Bastedo Champions (ABC) Animal Sanctuary, serving on the board of directors as well as building a reputation as its champion fundraiser.
With more than 60 volunteers, the ABC Animal Sanctuary helped rescue and find homes for many animals throughout the years.
A woman of many talents, Bastedo was also a published author who wrote several books on animal welfare and how to care for pets.
“She certainly accomplished a lot in her lifetime,” Jaspar said.
Two funeral services are scheduled to take place in West Sussex, England.