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  HOME | Arts & Entertainment

Rhonda Fleming, ‘Spellbound’ Star of Hollywood’s Golden Era, Dies at 97

LOS ANGELES – Rhonda Fleming, one of the star actors of Hollywood’s golden era of the 1940s and 1950s has died. She was 97.

Her secretary Carla Sapon told the Variety magazine on Friday that the actress died on Wednesday in Santa Monica, California.

Fleming, who was known for her flaming red hair, fair skin, and green eyes, was dubbed “the Queen of Technicolor” like her peer Maureen O’Hara.

She starred in more than 40 films that include Alfred Hitchcock’s “Spellbound” (1945) and “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” (1957), co-starring Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas, and directed by John Sturges.

Fleming was born as Marilyn Louis in 1923 in Los Angeles. Her mother, Effie Graham, starred in a 1914 Broadway musical. Her grandfather was a theater producer in Salt Lake City.

She landed her first lead role in her early 20s in “Spellbound,” starring Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck.

Her first film in color was the musical comedy “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” (1948) with Bing Crosby that earned her immense popularity for her looks.

Her filmography includes “Out of the Past” (1947) with Robert Mitchum, Fritz Lang’s “While the City Sleeps” (1957), co-starring Dana Andrews.

She also tried her luck on television from the 1960s onwards and performed on Broadway boards and in shows in Las Vegas.

Her fans also recognized Fleming for her charitable work in supporting research against cancer. Her sister Beverly had the disease.

In the early 1990s, she founded the Rhonda Fleming Mann Clinic at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Her private life also attracted much attention. She had six husbands.

Her first marriage was with her high school beau, Thomas Lane, whom she married while she was in her teens in 1940. The couple divorced in 1948. Her next three marriages also ended in divorce.

In 1978, she married her fifth husband, Ted Mann, who owned the Mann Theaters chain. They were together until he died in 2001.

Her last husband was Darol Wayne Carlson, who died in 2017.

 

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