Actresses of the 50s and 60s

Posts Tagged ‘tragic actress’

Elizabeth Hartman (1943 – 1987)

In 1943, American on May 18, 2018 at 2:25 pm

Elizabeth Hartman: American actress born Mary Elizabeth Hartman 23 December 1943, Boardman Ohio; died 10 June 1987, age 43, Pittsburgh Pennsylvania; suicide by jumping from a building.

Hartman began her acting career on stage in Pittsburgh where she attended college, then Celveland and finally New York, leading to a Hollywood contract and an Academy Award nomination for her first major role in A Patch of Blue (1965).

Mental illness affected her career and she stopped acting in the early 1980s, eventually working in a museum in Pittsburgh while undergoing treatment for depression. She jumped from the window of the fifth storey apartment she shared with her sister.

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Romy Schneider (1938 – 1982)

In 1938, Austrian on May 18, 2018 at 2:14 pm

Romy Schneider: Austrian actress born Rosemarie Magdalena Albach 23 September 1938, Vienna Austria; died: 29 May 1982, age 43, Paris France; cardiac arrest.

Schneider, the daughter of a German actress, began her career at age 15 in 1953, becoming a star in Europe after portraying the Empress Sissi in 1956 and 1957. Although appearing briefly in Hollywood in the mid-sixties, she worked mostly in France.

Years of heavy smoking, excessive alcohol consumption and drug use – especially after the accidental death of her only son in 1981 – affected her kidney and heart and she died of heart failure in her Paris apartment.

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Natalie Wood (1938 – 1981)

In 1938, American on May 18, 2018 at 1:58 pm

Natalie Wood: American actress born: 20 July 1938, San Francisco California; died: 29 November 1981, age 43, Santa Catalina Island California; drowned.

Wood, whose first credited role was in 1946, was a Hollywood superstar from her performance opposite James Dean in Rebel Without A Cause (1955) onwards.

After excessive drinking and arguing on a yacht with husband Robert Wagner and current co-star Christopher Walken, Wood fell overboard in unknown circumstances in the middle of the night and drowned.

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Barbara Bates (1925 – 1969)

In 1925, American on May 18, 2018 at 1:36 pm

Barbara Bates: American actress born 6 August 1925, Denver Colorado; died 18 March 1969, age 43, Denver Colorado; carbon monoxide poisoning.

Bates was discovered by movie publicist Cecil Coan in a beauty pageant and moving to Hollywood in 1944, marrying Coan and appearing in Universal, Warner Brothers and Twentieth Century Fox films, culminating in a memorable performance in All About Eve (1950).

By 1954, mental illness was seriously affecting her career and she made her final screen appearance on TV in 1962. After Coan’s death in 1967, Bates returned to Denver and worked menial jobs while living with her mother, killing herself in mother’s garage.

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Dorothy Dandridge (1922 – 1965)

In American on May 18, 2018 at 1:22 pm

Dorothy Dandridge: American actress born 9 November 1922, Cleveland Ohio; died 8 September 1965, age 42, West Hollywood California; drug overdose.

Starting in the family dance troupe The Dandridge Sisters, Dandridge appeared on screen 1940 – 1962, mostly famously in the title role of Carmen Jones (1954), earning an Academy Award nomination.

Suffering entrenched racism, alcoholism, and a deadbeat husband, Dandridge was broke and without any work prospects when she died from an accidental overdose of sleeping pills.

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Bella Darvi (1928 – 1971)

In 1928, Polish on May 17, 2018 at 12:51 pm

Bella Darvi: Polish actress born Bajla Węgier 23 October 1928, Sosnowiec Poland; died 11 September 1971, age 42, Monte Carlo Monaco; suicide.

Darvi had already survived a NAZI concentration camp, post-war poverty and a marriage when producer Daryl F. Zanuck “discovered” her at a Monte Carlo casino and took her back to Hollywood as his mistress and movie ingenue. In Hollywood 1954 – 1962, she returned to Europe after Zanuck dumped her.

Returning to gambling and increasingly turning to alcohol, she gassed herself in her Monte Carlo apartment. She had been dead for a week when her body was discovered.

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Margaux Hemingway (1954 – 1996)

In 1954, American on May 16, 2018 at 12:58 pm

Margaux Hemingway: American fashion model and actress born 16 February 1954, Portland Oregon; died 1 July 1996, age 42, Santa Monica California; suicide by drug overdose.

A granddaughter of author Ernest Hemingway, Margaux’s movie career started alongside her younger sister Mariel in Lipstick (1976). Her acting talent did not match her beauty, and she appeared in mostly B-grade movies.

Alcoholism and mental health affected both her career and relationships, and she was unemployed and living alone at the time of her death. Her final film, a sexploitation movie Backroads to Vegas (1999) was released three years after her death.

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Jean Seberg (1938 – 1979)

In 1938, American on May 16, 2018 at 12:33 pm

Jean Seberg: American actress born 13 November 1938, Marshalltown Iowa, USA; died: 30 August 1979, age 40, Paris France; suicide.

Director Otto Preminger “discovered” the 17 year old Seberg for the title role in Saint Joan (1957) and used her again in Bonjour Tristesse (1958), before she became famous for her performance in Á Bout de Souffle (aka Breathless 1960). Although she continued to star in big Hollywood films such as Lilith (1964) and Airport (1970), the FBI targeted Seberg for her anti-war activities and association with the Black Panther movement and she moved to Europe.

Seberg’s daughter died two days after her birth in August 1970 and Seberg attempted suicide around the time of the anniversary. In 1979 Seberg’s body was found in the back seat of a car in Paris; authorities estimated she had been dead 11 days.

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Marie McDonald (1923 – 1965)

In American on May 16, 2018 at 12:13 pm

Marie McDonald: American model and actress born Cora Marie Frye, 6 July 1923, Burgin Kentucky; died 21 October 1965, age 42, Calabasas California; overdose of sleeping pills.

After competing in beauty pageants and performing in Broadway stage shows, McDonald appeared regulary in small roles in movies 1942 – 1950, then only three further credits, culminating in the B-grade sex shocker Promises… Promises (1963) featuring Jayne Mansfield.

Nicknamed “the body,” McDonald gained notoriety for her looks and her melodramatic private life, including seven marriages, affairs with married Hollywood actors, a faked kidnapping, a nervous breakdown in Australia, and at least one unsuccessful suicide attempt. While McDonald’s death was ruled accidental, her husband committed suicide less than three months after hdeath, overdosing in the same room.

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Linda Darnell (1923 – 1965)

In American on May 10, 2018 at 1:27 pm

Linda Darnell: American actress born Monetta Eloyse Darnell 16 October 1923, Dallas Texas; died 10 April 1965, age 41, Glenview Illinois; burns sustained in house fire.

Darnell was a precocious child model and stage actress in Dallas before being contracted by Twentieth Century Fox at age 15. An alcoholic from her early twenties and first marriage, Darnell struggled to find consistent or quality work after her studio contract ended in 1952.

After making a low budget western in 1965, Darnell went to visit her former secretary in suburban Chicago and a fire broke out in the house. Darnell’s friend and her daughter escaped but Darnell was trapped in the house and died from her injuries in hospital the next day.

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