Barbara Steele (born 29 December 1937) is an English film actress and producer. She is best known for starring in Italian gothic horror films of the 1960s. Her breakthrough role came in Italian director Mario Bava's Black Sunday (1960).
Additionally, Steele had supporting parts in Federico Fellini's 8½ (1963), and appeared on television in the 1991 miniseries Dark Shadows. Steele has appeared in several films in the 2000s, including Ryan Gosling's Lost River (2014).
Steele was born in Birkenhead, Cheshire, England, near Liverpool. She studied art at the Chelsea Art School and in Paris at the Sorbonne.
Steele starred in a string of horror films, including Black Sunday, The Horrible Dr. Hichcock (1962), The Ghost (1963) directed by Riccardo Freda, The Long Hair of Death (1964) and Roger Corman's 1961 adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe's short story The Pit and the Pendulum, among others. She also starred in Castle of Blood (1964), Terror-Creatures from the Grave and Nightmare Castle (both 1965), and Curse of the Crimson Altar (1968).
She guest starred on various British television shows including the spy drama, Danger Man starring Patrick McGoohan. She made her American television debut in 1960 as Dolores in the "Daughter of Illusion" episode of the ABC series, Adventures in Paradise, starring Gardner McKay. In that same year she was replaced in the Elvis Presley film Flaming Star after a disagreement with director Don Siegel. In 1961, she appeared as Phyllis in the "Beta Delta Gamma" episode of CBS's Alfred Hitchcock Presents. She also had an important role in Federico Fellini's celebrated 8½ in 1963, and in 1966 appeared in the second season episode of NBC's I Spy, "Bridge of Spies".
Steele returned to the horror genre in the later 1970s, appearing in three horror films, Silent Scream, Piranha, and David Cronenberg's Shivers.
Steele served as associate producer of the 1983 TV mini-series, The Winds of War, and was a producer for its 1988 sequel, War and Remembrance, for which she shared the 1989 Emmy Award for Outstanding Drama/Comedy Special with executive producer Dan Curtis.
Steele was cast as Julia Hoffman in the 1991 remake of the 1960s ABC television series Dark Shadows. In 2010, she was a guest star in the Dark Shadows audio drama, The Night Whispers.
In 2010, actor-writer Mark Gatiss interviewed Steele about her role in Black Sunday for his BBC documentary series A History of Horror. In 2012, Gatiss again interviewed Steele about her role in David Cronenberg's Shivers (1975) for his follow-up documentary, Horror Europa. In 2014, she appeared in Ryan Gosling's directorial debut, the drama-fantasy thriller film Lost River, in which she portrayed the character Belladonna in a supporting role.
Steele married American screenwriter James Poe in 1969; the couple were divorced in 1978.