Actress Rhonda Fleming, the fiery redhead who appeared with Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston, Ronald Reagan and other movie stars from the 1940s and 1950s, has died. She was 97 years old.
Fleming’s assistant, Carla Sapon, told The New York Times that Fleming died Wednesday in Santa Monica, California.
From his first color film, The Yankees of Connecticut at King Arthur’s Court (1949) with Bing Crosby, Fleming became extremely popular with producers because of his vivid nuances. It was an attraction he would later regret.
Rhonda Fleming died Wednesday in Santa Monica, California, her assistant said. She was 97 years old (pictured in 2010, left and 1945, right)
Fleming, a fiery redhead, appeared with Hollywood celebrities in the 1940s, including Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston and Ronald Reagan. Pictured is Reagan in Hong Kong in 1954.
Suddenly my green eyes turned green. My red hair was fiery red. My skin was porcelain white, Fleming said in a 1990 interview. “Suddenly, all the attention was on how I looked, not the roles I played.
“I was drawn in the corner by studios who never asked me more than to look good and waltz through a parade of movies like Redhead and the Cowboy.” ‘
Before Reagan entered politics, the actress starred with him in “Hong Kong”, “Tropical Zone”, “The Last Outpost” and “Tennessee’s Partner”.
“He surprised everyone because he never looked in the mirror,” she once told Reagan. “How many actors can you say that about?”
Fleming was known for her work in Hollywood films in the 1940s and 1950s, as well as for her appearance.
Fleming flourished as a singer and dancer in the first appearance of a nightclub in her career at the New Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas in 1957.
Before Reagan entered politics, the actress starred with him in “Hong Kong”, “Tropical Zone”, “The Last Outpost” (pictured) and “Tennessee’s Partner”.
Fleming had a good singing voice and later in her career sang on stage in Las Vegas and on tour.
In the age of the big studio, many new personalities were advertised as discovered in strange ways: Kim Novak, while riding a bicycle past an agent’s office, was spotted by Lana Turner in a malt store.
In Fleming’s case, young Marilyn Lewis was reportedly heading to a class at Beverly Hills High School when a man followed her in a big black car and told her, “You have to be in pictures.” She slipped away from him, but he showed up at her house and offered to be her agent.
Legend or not, at the age of 19, Louis received a six-month contract in the studio of David O. Selznick and a new name: Ronda Fleming. She played a small role in the 1944 war drama “Since She’s Gone,” and then Alfred Hitchcock chose her to play a nymphomaniac in The Spell, starring Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck.
Fleming read in his penthouse in Rome in 1955.
“I rushed home and my mother and I looked up a ‘nymphomaniac’ in the dictionary,” she recalls. “We were both shocked.”
“Enchanted” led to another unknown film, The Spiral Staircase, in which she was strangled by the villain George Brent. After Selznick focused on his wife Jennifer Jones’ career, he lost interest in his contract players and Fleming left the studio as a freelancer.
Her next films were Abilene Town, Randolph Scott Western; Out of the Past, film noir with Robert Mitchum; and “Island of Adventure,” a tropical thriller starring Rory Calhoun.
She won a role in “A Connecticut Yankee,” a Crosby musical based on the story of Mark Twain, after Diana Durbin dropped out of France. Crosby was so impressed that he recommended her to Bob Hope, with whom she starred in The Great Lover.
Ironically, Crosby / Hope’s films, which established her as a beacon, turned out to be the ones she never managed to lead. She remained a star for 15 years, but with the exception of “The Lancaster-Douglas Shootout in OK Corral,” most of her performances were featured in B photos that exploited her appearance.
Fleming was married five times in all. Pictured in 1978 with her last husband, Ted Mann
Richard M. Nixon, then a Republican candidate for governor of California, spoke with Fleming, actor George Murphy and actress-singer Jane Powell in Hollywood in 1962.
“I made the mistake of making fewer films for good money,” she said in a 1976 interview. “I was hot – they all wanted me, but I didn’t have the guidance or experience to judge for myself.”
Among the films from the 50s of the last century are “While the City Sleeps”, directed by Fritz Lang and starring Dana Andrews. She played Cleopatra in the 1953 film The Snake of the Nile.
But many titles were forgettable: “The Eagle and the Hawk,” “The Last Outpost,” “Little Egypt,” “The Killer is Loose,” “Scarlet,” “Wind,” and “Pony Express” (with Charlton Heston), “Inferno.” , “These Seattle Redheads,” “Yankee Pasha,” and “Gun Glory.”
After her film career cooled, Fleming sang in Las Vegas, appeared on television and commercials, starred on Broadway in the revival of “Women,” and sang as a temptress for Lalum in “Kismet” for the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera.
She was born in Los Angeles in 1923. Her mother, Effie Graham, appeared on a Broadway musical in 1914 with Al Jolson, and her grandfather was a theater producer in Salt Lake City. He studied acting, but as a backup he also took lessons in shorthand, typing and accounting.
Fleming in the 1957 film Paramount The Buster Keaton Story
Fleming received direction in 1947 from director Cecil B Demil (left) with Tay Garnett (right)
As a teenager, Fleming married her favorite high school, Thomas Lane. Son Kent was born in 1941. When Lane returned from military service, Ronda became a star and the marriage ended in 1947. Three other marriages also ended in divorce, with Beverly Hills surgeon Louis Morrell (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 adjoining 4,300-square-foot condominiums, one on another in the city of the century high. “I value my privacy, and Ted needs his,” she once explained. “We love each other very much. Today I am much more fulfilled than at any time in my life.
After Fleming’s sister, Beverly Engel, died of cancer in 1991, Fleming and her husband established the Ronda Fleming Mann Resource Center for Women with Cancer at UCLA Medical Center. They also participated 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.
Bob Hope and Rhonda Fleming on the set of The Great Lover by Alexander Hall