Who was… Kitty Swan

Kitty Swan
Kitty Swan
Kitty Swan
Kitty Swan

As her real name was Kirston Svanholm, I’m guessing she was Danish or Swedish. Was she a model? Very likely. Was she a singer?  Apparently so.  Was she in Eurocult films? Most certainly. Beyond that, however, the woman is a mystery. Oh, apart from the fact that she shares her name with a popular lighting fixture from the swinging sixties!

Most of her roles were tiny and often uncredited. Her first part seems to have been as ‘Girl in Shower’ in Alessandro Blasetti’s Io, io, io… e gli altri (65), but after that she started popping up all over the place. She has a tiny part as one of the nubile female assassins in Deadlier than the Male, and appeared in other Eurospy films like The Big Blackout (Perry Grant, agente di ferro, 66) and Nazi SS (Borman, 66). One of her more prominent performances at this time – in terms of press coverage at any rate – was in Franco Prosperi’s The Professional Killer (Tecnica di un omicidio, 66), which garnered a considerable amount of attention in publications like the UK Continental Film Review (which featured several pictures of Ms. Swan and her co-star, Franco Nero).

In 1968, she played the title role in Ruggero Deodata’s Gungala la pantera nuda, one of the first of the rather peculiar ‘Jungle Girl’ films that were briefly popular at the time. Carrying on in the same vein, she was the female lead in a couple of Manuel Cano films, King of the Jungle (Tarzán en la gruta del oro, 70) and Tarzan and the Treasure of the Emerald Cave (Tarzán y el arco iris, 72). The shooting of the former, in Florida, was marred by an accident in which Kitty and her co-star Steve Hawkes were badly burned – they were tied to wooden stakes when some gasoline soaked leaves caught fire – causing them to spend some months in hospital receiving skin grafts.

Unfortunately, these turned out to be her last performances on film or television, and there’s no information at all on her post-cinema career. If anybody knows anything more about the elusive Ms. Svanholm, please let us know!

About Matt Blake 890 Articles
The WildEye is a blog dedicated to the wild world of Italian cinema (and, ok, sometimes I digress into discussing films from other countries as well). Peplums, comedies, dramas, spaghetti westerns... they're all covered here.


  1. That’s right. Kitty Swan is Danish and was born in Coppenhagen. Her real name is actually Kirsten (not Kirston) Svanholm and she appears uncredited in a ridiculous amount of films from the 1960s. She also appeared in some photo-novels for such magazines as Bolero Film, Tipo and Grand Hotel. I believe the accident on the set of that TARZAN film is what put an end to her career. Sadly, serious burn wounds were no doubt detrimental to the career of an actress who was known primarily for playing scantly clad jungle girls…

    • Last I heared about Kirsten Svanholm is Some years ago. She got married and got 2 children. A Boy and a girl.
      The accident she had with the fire costed her the Carrier as a filmstar. She is burned on most of her body and must dress in clothes with long sleeves. She also use cream to help her burns.
      I know All of this because she used to have some old friends in Denmark which I also knew. I think she still Are alife and is living somehvere in Rome, Italy.

  2. She did get burned badly but she didn’t have a skin graft. Same old man who treated my burns with homemade stuff got her burns remedied. As far as I was told she regrew new skin cells. Apparently those ingredients are now used in thing called “second skin”

    • The man who treated her burns was Jovan Saljic. He treated the burns with some herbs and he did amazing job on her face. Would love to know more about her but there isn`t much to go on.

      • Yes, late Jovan Saljic did miracles with burns on her body. He brought many people with severe burns back to life. He used to be my neighbour.
        Would love to know about post-accident Kitty Swan.

  3. concerning actress Kitty swan. all has been said about her – and that’s not much. but, there is 1 movie missing from the internet movie database. the movie is from 1966 and called in italian “COME SVALIGIAMMO LA BANCA D’ITALIA” it’s a caper comedy with the italian comic duo franco franchi and cicchio ingrassia in the title role. she had a small role as “brunette girl at nightclub”. (source WIKIPEDIA). best, rudy from Belgium.

  4. For everyone with interest in the person, I can tell that Kirsten, who correctly is Danish (with double citizenship – the other Italian) is very much alive and well. She lives just outside Rome with her husband, and she is still a very beautiful, openhearted, and wise woman. Despite the burn accident, during which her husband and family stood by her side, she later gave birth to two children. Today, she lives a quiet but very active life with great interest in Roman and Etruscan culture and architecture. She is also a skilled painter and sculptor and among the most knowledgable people, though not documented, concerning ancient Roman marble and pottery. And then she is my very cherished aunt :-)

    • Wow! Amazing to read your comments, Steen, thanks for posting them. I visited Rainbow Springs as a young boy, however it wasn’t until many years later that I learned of the fire that injured Kirsten and Stjepan Šipek while they were shooting a film there. I often wondered what became of your aunt, and how she fared after the accident. Her many fans will be thrilled to hear that she is happy and well, and has become a skilled painter and sculptor, and an expert on ancient Roman marble and pottery. Thanks for the update, Steen!

    • Dear Steen Svanholm , my father use to know her ( Kirsten ) my father is dead now his name was Ole , and kirsten lived (rented a room at my grand mom fathers mom Erna in Gothersgade københavn ) i was called lille ole , i meet Kirsten twice i think , i was only abou 8 – 10 , maybe in 1968 or so , i am from 1959 ,i think then ohh she is pretty and nice , i saw a movie poster of her and remembered her and the dark hair , if posible , please say hi from me , i do not want to interfear in her life just to say hi , Ole Kingston is the name i use today ,, i use to be Ole Dan jensen . glad to her she is alright , i remember hering of the burn .

    • Hi – I write for Cinema Retro magazine. I read about the tragedy on the Tarzan film set and always wondered whatever happened to Ms. Svanholm. Would she ever be interested in doing a phone or email interview? I’d love to tell her story. thanks!

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