Golden Age actress Ronda Fleming has died at the age of 97


Ronda Fleming, the green-eyed, auspicious-haired actress who was known as the Queen of Technicolor during the Golden Age of Hollywood and who showed her wealth and prominence in helping others as a philanthropist Made an identity.. She was 97.

Fleming died Wednesday at Santa Monica Hospital, his assistant Carla Sapon told the New York Times.

As a budding Beverly Hills High School teen in the early 1940s, Fleming produced producer David O. Caught the eye of a talent scout for Selznick. Selznick cast him in the 1945 Alfred Hitchcock film “Spellbound” and launched an international star.

Fleming positioned her talent as an actress and singer in the top leading men in Hollywood, including Bing Crosby, Rock Hudson, Charlton Heston, Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, and Ronald Reagan. Producers quickly discovered the striking visual effects of her eyes, hair, and creamy skin in Technicolor, which put Fleming in high demand for Western, period periods and jungle adventure films of the 1940s and 50s.

But Fleming never said, in her own words, “a classic like Casablanca,” she proved herself as a versatile actress who faced challenges. She appeared as the secretary who celebrated the 1947 film ‘No Out of the Past’ and the 1958 psychological drama “Home Before Dark.”

Her career in more than 40 films and several television parts, which served as a true Hollywood professional, said Jeanine Businger, a film historian and author of “A Women’s View: How Hollywood Spoke to Women”.

“I had what you would call a traveler’s career in the most positive sense,” said Bassinger, a professor of film studies at Wesleyan University. “She suffered. He labored. But she was over it. She can appear in any kind of film. ”

She can also sing, – and a lifelong ambition to do so – in 1957, when Fleming stepped up for review on the stage of the newly opened Tropicana nightclub in Las Vegas. She also appeared on Broadway, appearing in the 1973 revival of Clare Booth Lodge’s “The Women”.

The actress had been married six times, including Ted Man of the Man Theaters for 23 years, until she died in 2001.

Throughout his career, Fleming stated that he disliked the Queen of Technicolor moniker, which prefers to point out rather than his professional accomplishments.

Fleming was born on 10 August 1923 in Hollywood as Marilyn Louis. A wave to the stage ran through her veins – her mother, Effie Graham, was a famous model and actress who once appeared in a musical production at New York’s Winter Garden Theater with Al Jolson.

But the idea of ​​acting never came to Fleming’s mind. She wanted to become a singer, such as her idol, Canadian singer and actress Dianna Durbin. An aunt gave her a voice and he entered a singing competition.

“I never asked to be in motion pictures,” Fleming told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2009. “It just happened with the studio system. I wanted to sing. I studied to be a trained singer, and I worked on it, and trained on it.”

Yet her fate led to a fairy-tale turn to the film, when Henry Wilson, a talent agent for Selnik, spotted her outside Beverly Hills High. Even without giving her a screen test, Selznick cast her as a violently seductive mental hospital patient in “Spellbound”, which also starred Gregory Peck and Ingrid Bergman.

“When I got the part, I ran home and told my mother that I was going to play as an nymph,” Fleming later recalled. “‘What a!’ My mother cried. I didn’t know what the word meant! ”

Selznick wanted to best his young film star with a new name. By then, Merlin was Louis Merlin Lane, married in 1940 to decorator Thomas Lane. Proving that Merlin was “not commercial” (a theory accepted a few years later by Merlin Munro), Selczyk came up with Ronda Fleming – a name first to warm-up.

His star flourished, beginning with the 1949 musical “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court” (co-starring Crosby) and a series of westerns including “The Redhead and the Cowboys” and “Gunfight on the OK”. Coral. “But Fleming later indicated that she felt the color betrayed her parts of the flesh she used to film in black-and-white.

Actress Ronda Fleming in 1981

Actress Ronda Fleming in Hollywood in 1981.

(Wally Fong / AP)

In the late 1970s, Fleming retired from acting. He used his star power to support a number of causes, voluntarily at UCLA and opening swimming pools in his Bel-Air home for children suffering from cerebral palsy.

After the death of her elder sister Beverly in ovarian cancer in 1990, her philanthropy went in a new direction. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, Fleming recalled the moment when his sister, a steady source of moral support for Fleming, phoned and sought advice about the surgery. Fleming sat on his telephone and spent the next 12 hours making calls.

“My sister must have murdered me, and now I had to keep her alive,” Fleming said.

Fleming said what struck him most about his sister’s battle with cancer was the lack of psychological support services for patients. As he and Mann were preparing to open the Ronda Fleming Mann Resource Center for Women with Cancer at UCLA, Fleming chose color scheme, art, and furniture with the idea of ​​a relaxed atmosphere in mind.

A plaque in the reception area bears her sister’s name, and a quote: “Make it a place of hope.”

In addition to his involvement with other charitable organizations, Fleming served on the board of people assisting the homeless and established a center to provide temporary housing for single women and children.

Recently married to Darl Wayne Carlson, who died in 2017, Fleming is survived by his son, Kent Lane, and two granddaughters, five great-grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren, whom Sapan transferred to the New York Times.