The actress, who was directed by Robert Hitchcock and participated in films such as Duel of the titans Y A Yankee in King Arthur’s court, died at the age of 97.
Rhonda Fleming, one of the few outstanding classic Hollywood actresses left alive, died at 97 years old at Saint John’s Health Center in Santa Monica, California. The news was confirmed this Friday, October 16 by his secretary Carla Sapon to Variety magazine.
With a striking red hair and fascinating green eyes, Fleming, whose filmography includes titles such as Talk about yourself (1945) and Duel of the titans (1957), was nicknamed “the queen of Technicolor”, a nickname by which another illustrious Hollywood redhead was also known as Maureen O’Hara.
That nickname made reference to the fact that, with the progressive disappearance of black and white in the cinema, his hair and eyes shone in each of the scenes in which he appeared.
Marilyn Louis, that was her original name, did not have to travel very far to succeed in the cinema, since she was born on August 10, 1923 in Los Angeles (USA). Daughter of model and actress Effie Graham, who between 1914 and 1915 starred alongside Al Johnson in the musical Dancing Around, and an insurance salesman, Fleming was “discovered” while in high school by acting agent Henry Wilson.
“It’s so weird,” Fleming later recounted. “He stopped me crossing the street. It scared me a little. I was only 16 or 17 years old, and signed me to a seven-year contract without even giving a screen test. It was a Cinderella story, but that’s something that could happen in those days. “
It was Harris himself who renamed her and connected her with producer David O. Selznick, who gave her a role in In old oklahoma (1943), starring John Wayne, and also landed a role in When Strangers Marry (1944), with Robert Mitchum as its main figure.
Her first major role came shortly after, when she was in her early twenties directed by Alfred Hitchcock in Talk about yourself (1945), who starred Ingrid Bergman Y Gregory Peck. “Hitch told me that he was going to play a nympho. I remember going quickly to my house to look up the meaning of the word in the dictionary, and feeling shocked,” the actress recalled once.
Little by little, his career was gaining notoriety, while on his resume he accumulated outstanding titles from the golden age of Hollywood such as Return to the past (1947), again with Mitchum; musical comedy A Yankee in King Arthur’s court (1948), which he led alongside Bing Crosby; the dark While New York sleeps (1956), by Fritz Lang; and the aforementioned western Duel of the titans (1957), which with Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas leading the cast.
In 1953 Fleming led two 3-D films, Inferno and the musical Those Redheads from Seattle; The experience of shooting films in three dimensions was extended the following year, when he shared the leading role in El Tesoro del Amazonas with Argentine actor Fernando Lamas, who three years earlier had arrived in Hollywood, where he would continue his successful career.
Although in the early ’60s the actress declared herself “semi-retired”, during that decade and the following one he had frequent appearances on television, as a guest star of series and programs such as The Red Skelton Show, The Best of Broadway, The Investigators, Meteor shower, The Dick Powell Show, Caravan, Agent Burke, McMillan and wife, Policewoman, Kung Fu, Ellery Queen Y The love cruise, among other.
Furthermore, in 1958 Fleming recorded her testimony as a singer on the only LP she recorded, Rhonda (reissued in 2008 as a CD, under the title Rhonda Fleming Sings Just For You). Cold Rain, Love Me or Leave Me Y I’ve Got You Under My Skin are some of the classics to which he gave his voice, with Frank Comstock as musical director.
In addition to trying his luck on television, Fleming he also acted on Broadway stage and at Las Vegas shows, he toured with his own night club, crowning his extensive career with appearances on The bomb that undresses (1980), with the unforgettable Don Adams, and a final role in Waiting for the Wind, closing a virtuous artistic circle together Robert Mitchum.
Outside of acting, Fleming developed noted for his charitable work in favor of research against cancer, a disease suffered by his sister Beverly. Thus, in the early 1990s, he founded the Rhonda Fleming Mann Clinic at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Regarding her strictly personal sphere, the actress had six marriages, with a final result of four divorces and two widows, the last one in 2017, with the offspring of a son, two granddaughters, four great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.