Camille Keaton was born on July 20th, 1950 in Pine Bluff, Arkansas (United States). She is second (or third) cousin of the American silent movie star Buster Keaton - whom she never met, not a granddaughter or great granddaughter as some sources report.
Her vocation as an actress began at the age of 6/7, when she had to move, together with her family, from Arkansas to Georgia. Her parents forced her to get rid of her beloved paper dolls, with which she spent many hours playing, and that's where she realised that she wanted to turn all that fantasy into something concrete, not just leaving it behind her. So, also for the pleasure of learning a new language, she moved to Italy in 1971, initially living with an uncle.
Having hired a film agent, she takes part in several carousels (for "Algida", "Baci Perugina", a company of bras and another of bags) and takes some photographs that are submitted for the attention of director Franco Zeffirelli, intent on joining the cast of the film Fratello sole, sorella luna (1972). Receiving no calls, she continues to work as an extra in some movies and also as a double for actress Ewa Aulin in a scene from a movie where she was swimming.
The opportunity for her to emerge comes thanks to the director Massimo Dallamano, who, visiting Zeffirelli's studio, notices her photos and is favorably impressed, deciding to cast her for his film Cosa avete fatto a Solange? (1972).
Even if the interpretation of that little character without lines is simple, she is forced to improvise on the set in order to learn the art of acting, having never followed any acting course. The director himself supports her during the filming, until he takes her with him to her film premiere, held in Bologna.
She gained unexpected popularity thanks to the success of the film. A few months later she starred in the erotic film Decameron No. 2 - Le altre novelle del Boccaccio by Mino Guerrini, an episodic film born in the wake of the media hype aroused by Pasolini with Il Decameron (1971). It is quite faithful to the short stories from which it draws inspiration.
Also in 1972, she becomes the co-star of the "psychedelic" horror Estratto dagli archivi segreti della polizia di una capitale europea by Riccardo Freda. It was a film with a problematic production, disowned by the director, who abandoned filming halfway through the shoot and was therefore patchy and discontinuous, but which does not skimp on well-made splatter effects and has decidedly weird moments, so it still enjoys a certain fame by the passionate public.
Among the performers is the Iberian actor Tony Isbert, with whom the actress has a brief infatuation.
The nude scenes certainly do not scare her or make her uncomfortable and in fact she is soon also appearing in the famous Italian magazine for men "Playmen", as playmate of the month of November 1972, returning on the cover also in '74.
In 1973 she participated in the film Il gatto di Brooklyn aspirante detective, by Oscar Brazzi, a gothic-investigative comedy aimed at an infantile audience, but shot by a director accustomed to completely different genres: with a minimal budget, a performer (Franco Franchi) without inspiration, and Luigi Pistilli clearly out of place, the actress wanders a bit bewildered on the scene, limiting herself to witnessing the events.
This is also the year of the rambling erotic thriller Il sesso della strega by Angelo Pannacciò, a work vaguely inspired by the novel "Ten little indians" by Agatha Christie. Wide erotic parentheses, very slow rhythm, approximate acting and script, go hand in hand here, relegating the film only to lovers of trash.
Even in this work the actress does not do much, but is committed in her small way, trying to give a certain veracity to her character, using the breaks in production to take advantage of a horse riding school that is located near the set, in Sermoneta (Latina).
The following year she is the main protagonist of the psychological-thriller Madeleine, anatomia di un incubo (1974) by Roberto Mauri, a director who tries to enhance it, succeeding in part where others had failed, with an atypical thriller, the production of which the actress will keep as a tender and affectionate memory.
Feeling homesick or perhaps simply dissatisfied with career prospects or low wages, she decides to change her life by returning to the United States. Here she meets the debut director Meir Zarchi (born in 1937), who directs her as the protagonist of his next film: I spit on your grave (1978). The film, considered as the apologue of the most extreme feminist cinema and cleverly re-titled "Day of the Woman", quickly becomes a small cinematographic phenomenon, for whose interpretation the actress receives several awards, including one at the Sitges Festival '78 (Spain).
Following her marriage to Zarchi in '79, she chooses to leave the scene for over a decade.
She returns in front of the camera in 1993, in a sort of sequel to her biggest success, entitled: I spit on your grave 2: Savage Vengeance, using the pseudonym of Vickie Kehl, but both director and film are wrong. She will return to the same subject also in 2019 with I Spit on Your Grave: Deja Vu, once again directed by Zarchi, but without reaching the glories of the progenitor film.
After another decade, she reappears in the thriller by Gionata Zarantonello, The Butterfly Room - La stanza delle farlalle (2003), a film with a nostalgic flavor that brings together other stars of past horror cinema, such as Barbara Steele ("La maschera del Demonio") and Heather Langenkamp ("Nightmare on Elm Street").
The last appearance of her as an actress was recorded in 2018, in the indie feature film Cry for the bad man by Sam Farmer.
Divorced from Zarchi in 82, from 1993 to 2005 she was the fourth wife of the film producer Sidney Luft. After returning to her homeland, she lived for a short time in New York, then she moved to Los Angeles. Now she resides in Florida and participates in conventions and film events to the delight of fans.
1. Camille Keaton interview by Manlio Gomarasca (November 16th, 2015).
2. Presence proved by a photo taked at the first screening.
- Un posto ideale per uccidere .... Girl in the crowd (uncredited)
- Cosa avete fatto a Solange? .... Solange Beauregard (credited)
- Estratto dagli archivi segreti della polizia di una capitale europea .... Jane (credited)
- Sette orchidee macchiate di rosso .... Hippie party guest (uncredited)
- Il gatto di Brooklyn aspirante detective .... Guendalina Bacherozza De Porcaris (credited)
- Il sesso della strega .... Ann (credited)
- Madeleine, anatomia di un incubo .... Madeleine (credited)
- I Spit on Your Grave .... Jennifer (credited)
- The Butterfly Room - La stanza delle farfalle .... Olga (credited)
Filmography to check
- Decameron n° 2 - Le altre novelle del Boccaccio (1972) .... Alibech (credited)