World News – CA – Rhonda Fleming, 1940s and 1950s movie star, dies at 97


The Associated Press

In this September 26, 1962 file photo, Richard M Nixon, Republican candidate for governor of California, chats with actress Rhonda Fleming, actor George Murphy and actress-singer Jane Powell in Hollywood, Calif. (Photo / AP file)

Actress Rhonda Fleming, the fiery redhead who appeared with Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston, Ronald Reagan and other movie stars of the 1940s and 1950s, has died She was 97 years old

Fleming’s assistant Carla Sapon told the New York Times that Fleming died in Santa Monica, Calif., On Wednesday

From her first color film, « A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court » (1949) starring Bing Crosby, Fleming became extremely popular with producers because of her vibrant hues It was an attraction she would later regret. p>

« Suddenly my green eyes were green My red hair was a blazing red My skin was porcelain white, » Fleming remarked in an interview in 1990 « There was suddenly all this attention to my appearance rather than the roles that I was playing

« I had been painted in a corner by the studios, who never wanted more of me than my good looks and waltzed through a parade of movies like ‘The Redhead and the Cowboy' »

Before Reagan entered politics, the actress starred with him in « Hong Kong », « Tropic Zone », « The Last Outpost » and « Tennessee’s Partner »

« He surprised everyone because he’s never looked at himself in a mirror, » she once said of Reagan. « How many actors can you say that? »

Fleming possessed a beautiful singing voice, and later in her career she sang on stage in Las Vegas and in a tour number

In the era of the big studios, many new personalities have been announced as having been discovered in a quirky way: Kim Novak while cycling in front of an agent’s office, Lana Turner spotted in a malt house

In Fleming’s case, young Marilyn Louis reportedly went to class at Beverly Hills High School when a man followed her in a big black car and said: « You should be in the picture » She escaped him, but he showed up at her house and offered to be her agent

Legend or not, at 19, Louis gets a six-month contract at David O Selznick’s studio and a new name: Rhonda Fleming She played a small role in the 1944 war drama « Since You Went Away », then Alfred Hitchcock chose her to play a nymphomaniac in « Spellbound », with Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck

« I rushed home, and my mom and I looked up ‘nymphomaniac’ in the dictionary, » she recalls. « We were both shocked »

« Spellbound » led to another thriller, « The Spiral Staircase », in which she was strangled by villain, George Brent Selznick focusing on the career of his wife, Jennifer Jones, he lost interest in her contract players and Fleming left the studio to go independent

His next films: « Abilene Town », a western by Randolph Scott; “Out of the Past”, a film noir starring Robert Mitchum; and « Adventure Island », a tropical thriller starring Rory Calhoun

She won a role in « A Connecticut Yankee », a Crosby musical based on the Mark Twain story, after Deanna Durbin dropped out to retire in France. Crosby was so impressed that he recommended her to Bob Hope, who she starred with in « The Great Lover »

Ironically, the Crosby / Hope films that established her as a luminary turned out to be the ones she was never able to dominate.She remained a star for 15 years, but with the exception of the « Gunfight at the OK Corral ”by Lancaster-Douglas, most of his performances came in B-frames which exploited his appearance

“I made the mistake of making lower quality films for money,” she said in an interview in 1976 “I was hot – they all wanted me – but I didn’t neither advice nor experience to judge for myself « 

Among his 1950s films were « While the City Sleeps », directed by Fritz Lang and starring Dana Andrews She played Cleopatra in the 1953 film « Serpent of the Nile »

But many titles were forgettable: « The Eagle and the Hawk », « The Last Outpost », « Little Egypt », « The Killer Is Loose », « Slightly Scarlet », « Crosswinds » and « Pony Express » (with Charlton Heston ), « Inferno », « Those redheads from Seattle », « Yankee Pasha » and « Gun Glory »

After her film career cooled off, Fleming took a singing act in Las Vegas, appeared in TV shows and commercials, performed on Broadway in a cover of « The Women » and sang as a temptress. Lalume in « Kismet » for the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera

She was born in Los Angeles in 1923 Her mother, Effie Graham, had appeared in a Broadway musical in 1914 with Al Jolson, and her grandfather was a theater producer in Salt Lake City. She studied acting, but as a substitute she also took courses in shorthand, typing and accounting

While still a teenager, Fleming married her high school sweetheart, Thomas Lane A son, Kent, was born in 1941 When Lane returned from military service, Rhonda had become a star and the marriage ended in 1947 Three other marriages also ended in divorce, with Beverly Hills surgeon Lewis Morrill (1952-1958); actor Lang Jeffries (1960-1962); and producer-director Hall Bartlett (1966-1972)

In 1977, Fleming married tycoon Ted Mann, who built the Mann Theater chain, and the marriage lasted until his death in 2001. For many years they lived in 4,300 square foot condominiums, on top of each other in a Century City skyscraper « I treasure my privacy, and Ted needs his, » she explained. once « We love each other very much I am much more fulfilled today than at any time in my life »

After Fleming’s sister, Beverly Engel, died of cancer in 1991, Fleming and her husband established the Rhonda Fleming Mann Resource Center for Women with Cancer at UCLA Medical Center. They were also active in various other charities for cancer patients, children and the homeless

A few years after Mann’s death, Fleming married for the sixth time, to Derol W Carlson, who died in 2017

Rhonda Fleming

World news – California – Rhonda Fleming, 1940s and 1950s movie star, dies at 97



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