Rhonda Fleming, star of Hollywood's Golden Age, dies aged 97
Actress Rhonda Fleming, star of Hollywood’s Golden Age, has died at the age of 97, her secretary has said.
Fleming appeared in movies including Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound, film noir Out Of The Past and comedy-musical A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthur’s Court.
She was one of the most glamorous actresses of the 1940s and 50s and was nicknamed the “Queen of Technicolour”.
Through more than 40 films, Fleming’s co-stars included Kirk Douglas, Bing Crosby, Glenn Ford, Burt Lancaster, Bob Hope, Rock Hudson and Ronald Reagan.
Fleming died on Wednesday in Santa Monica, Carla Sapon, her secretary, told Variety.
Her film career had a suitably Hollywood beginning. She appeared on the Warner Archive podcast in October 2014 and revealed she was a 16-year-old school girl when she was discovered in the street.
Famed agent Henry Wilson, who also discovered Hudson among others, drove past Fleming in Beverly Hills and followed her in his black limousine.
She initially ran away before Wilson explained who he was. Born Marilyn Louis, Wilson changed her name to Rhonda Fleming.
She had a cold reading for Hitchcock and famed producer David O Selznick, impressing enough to earn a seven-year deal.
Her first major role was in Spellbound, playing a mental institution patient alongside Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck.
Fleming said the part was of a nymphomaniac but she was so naive she had to look up what the word meant.
Spellbound launched a prolific career on both the big and small screen, as well as the stage.
“I had so many wonderful parts, it was just awesome,” Fleming told the Warner podcast.
She was married six times, including to American businessman Ted Mann, known for once owning Hollywood’s historic TCL Chinese Theatre, which he renamed after himself.
Fleming’s hand and footprints were placed in the cement outside the theatre in 1981.