Actress Rhonda Fleming has died aged 97.
The silver screen starlet, known as the Queen of Technicolor thanks to her striking red hair and green eyes, died in Wednesday in Santa Monica, California, with her death confirmed by her secretary.
No cause of death was given.
Fleming starred in more than 40 films, most of them in the 1940s and 50s, including Gunfight at the OK Corral, Spellbound, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court and Out Of The Past.
Born Marilyn Louis, Fleming was 16 when she was discovered on her way to school by Hollywood agent Henry Willson, who introduced her to Gone With The Wind producer David O Selznick.
The actress said in a previous interview: ‘Suddenly these men from Mr. Selznick’s office came in and they sat across the way and just kept staring.
‘I said, “What are they looking at, Henry?” He said, “Just keep eating.” All of a sudden one of the men came up to Henry and whispered in his ear. He said, “Never mind the screen test, we’re going to sign her.”’
After changing her name to Rhonda Fleming, the star patient at the Green Manors mental hospital in Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound, starring Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman.
She went on to star opposite Robert Mitchum and Kirk Douglas in Out Of The Past in 1947, Robert Ryan’s wife in 1953’s Inferno, and as Cleopatra in 1953’s Serpent Of The Nile.
Fleming also made a number of Westerns, including Pony Express wit Charlton Hestion, and made four films with Ronald Reagan.
Also a talented singer, she sang in the musical A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court opposite Bing Crosby.
Fleming’s standout beauty saw her become a nightclub star too, and was chosen to christen the Tropicana Hotel in Las Vegas in 1957.
After the 70s, Fleming wound back her acting work, although her final credited role came in 1990 in the film Waiting For The Wind.
After her sister Beverly was diagnosed with a rare form of ovarian cancer, Fleming became a prominent supporter of cancer research, and in 1991, she and her husband Ten Mann 0 of the Mann’s Chinese Theatre – established Rhonda Fleming Mann Clinic for Comprehensive Care at UCLA Medical Center.
They went on to fund a resource centre for women with cancer three years later, and also founded the Rhonda Fleming Mann Research Fellowship at the City of Hope.
Fleming was married six times in her life – to Tom Lane from 1940 until 1942, to Dr Lewis Morrill from 1952 until 1954, to actor Lang Jeffries from 1960 to 1962, to producer Hall Bartlett from 1966 until 1972, to Ted Mann from 1977 until his death in 2001, and to Darol Carlson from 2003 until his death in 2017.
She had one child, son Kent with her first husband.
Fleming is survived by Kent, stepchildren Candace, Cindy, Jill and Kevin, granddaughters Kelly and Kimberly, five great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren.
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