Rhonda Fleming

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Rhonda Fleming
Rhonda Fleming - publicity.JPG
circa 1950s
BornMarilyn Louis
(1923-08-10) August 10, 1923 (age 91)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
Years active1943–1990
Spouse(s)
  • Tom Lane (m. 1940–42)
  • Dr. Lewis Morrill (m. 1952–54)
  • Lang Jeffries (m. 1960–62)
  • Hall Bartlett (m. 1966–72)
  • Ted Mann (m. 1977; wid. 2001)
  • Darol Carlson (m. 2003)
ChildrenKent Lane (actor)
Website
http://www.rhondafleming.com
 
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Rhonda Fleming
Rhonda Fleming - publicity.JPG
circa 1950s
BornMarilyn Louis
(1923-08-10) August 10, 1923 (age 91)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
Years active1943–1990
Spouse(s)
  • Tom Lane (m. 1940–42)
  • Dr. Lewis Morrill (m. 1952–54)
  • Lang Jeffries (m. 1960–62)
  • Hall Bartlett (m. 1966–72)
  • Ted Mann (m. 1977; wid. 2001)
  • Darol Carlson (m. 2003)
ChildrenKent Lane (actor)
Website
http://www.rhondafleming.com

Rhonda Fleming (born Marilyn Louis, Hollywood, California, August 10, 1923), is an American film and television actress.

She acted in more than forty films, mostly in the 1940s and 1950s, and became renowned as one of the most glamorous actresses of her day. She was nicknamed the "Queen of Technicolor" because her fair complexion and flaming red hair photographed exceptionally well in Technicolor.[1]

Career[edit]

Fleming began working as a film actress while attending Beverly Hills High School,[2] from which she was graduated in 1941. She was discovered by the well-known Hollywood agent Henry Willson.[3] After appearing uncredited in a several films, she received her first substantial role in the thriller Spellbound (1945), produced by David O. Selznick and directed by Alfred Hitchcock. She followed this with supporting roles in another thriller, The Spiral Staircase (1946), directed by Robert Siodmak, the Randolph Scott western Abilene Town (1946), and the film noir classic Out of the Past (1947) with Robert Mitchum. Her first leading role came in Adventure Island (1947), a low-budget action film made in the two-color Cinecolor process and co-starring Rory Calhoun.[4]

She co-starred with Bing Crosby in her first Technicolor film,[5] A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1949), a musical loosely based on the story by Mark Twain. Fleming exhibited her singing ability, dueting with Crosby on “Once and For Always” and soloing with “When Is Sometime”. She and Crosby recorded the songs for a 78 rpm Decca soundtrack album. She sang on NBC's Colgate Comedy Hour during the same live telecast that featured Errol Flynn, on September 30, 1951, from the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood.[6]

In 1953, Fleming portrayed Cleopatra in Serpent of the Nile. That same year she appeared in two films shot in 3-D, Inferno with Robert Ryan and the musical Those Redheads From Seattle with Gene Barry. The following year she starred with Fernando Lamas in Jivaro, her third 3-D release. Much of the outdoor location work for Fleming's appearance in the 1955 Western Tennessee's Partner, in which she played Duchess opposite John Payne as Tennessee and Ronald Reagan as Cowpoke, was filmed at the storied Iverson Movie Ranch in Chatsworth, California, known as the most heavily filmed outdoor location in the history of the movies and television. She was filmed riding a horse over the movie ranch's rocky terrain, and one of those rocks, a distinctive monolithic sandstone feature behind which Fleming, as Duchess, hid during an action sequence, later became known as Rhonda Fleming Rock. The rock remains in place today and is part of a section of the former movie ranch known as Garden of the Gods, which has been preserved as public parkland.[citation needed]

Among Fleming’s subsequent cinematic credits are Fritz Lang's While the City Sleeps (1956), co-starring Dana Andrews; Allan Dwan's Slightly Scarlet, co-starring John Payne and Arlene Dahl; John Sturges’s Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957) co-starring Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas; and the Irwin Allen/Joseph M. Newman production of The Big Circus (1959), co-starring Victor Mature and Vincent Price. Her most recent film was Waiting for the Wind (1990).[7]

During the 1950s and into the 1960s, Fleming frequently appeared on television with guest-starring roles on The Red Skelton Show, The Best of Broadway, The Investigators, Shower of Stars, The Dick Powell Show, Death Valley Days, Wagon Train, Burke's Law, The Virginian, McMillan & Wife, Police Woman, Kung Fu, Ellery Queen, and The Love Boat. On March 4, 1962, Fleming appeared in one of the last segments of ABC's Follow the Sun in a role opposite Gary Lockwood, who was nearly 14 years her junior. She played a Marine in the episode "Marine of the Month".[8]

In 1958, Fleming again displayed her singing talent when she recorded her only LP, entitled simply Rhonda (reissued in 2008 on CD as Rhonda Fleming Sings Just For You). In this album, she blended then current songs like "Around The World" with standards such as "Love Me Or Leave Me" and "I've Got You Under My Skin". One of her final film appearances to date was a bit-role in the 1980 comedy The Nude Bomb (starring Don Adams) as Edith von Secondburg.[8]

Fleming has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[9] In 2007, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars was dedicated to her.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Fleming has worked for several charities, especially in the field of cancer care, and has served on the committees of many related organizations. In 1991, she and her late fifth husband, Ted Mann, established the Rhonda Fleming Mann Clinic For Women's Comprehensive Care at the UCLA Medical Center.[11]

In 1964, Fleming spoke at "Project Prayer" rally attended by 2,500 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The gathering, which was hosted by Anthony Eisley, a star of ABC's Hawaiian Eye series, sought to flood the United States Congress with letters in support of school prayer, following two decisions in 1962 and 1963 of the United States Supreme Court which struck down the practice as in conflict with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.[12]

Joining Fleming and Eisley at the rally were Walter Brennan, Lloyd Nolan, Dale Evans, Pat Boone, and Gloria Swanson. Fleming declared, "Project Prayer is hoping to clarify the First Amendment to the Constitution and reverse this present trend away from God."[12] Eisely and Fleming added that John Wayne, Ronald W. Reagan, Roy Rogers, Mary Pickford, Jane Russell, Ginger Rogers, and Pat Buttram would also have attended the rally had their schedules not been in conflict.[12]

Fleming has been married six times:[13]

Filmography[edit]

YearTitleRole
1943In Old OklahomaDance-hall girl
1944Since You Went AwayGirl at Dance
When Strangers MarryGirl on train
1945SpellboundMary Carmichael
The Spiral StaircaseBlanche
1946Abilene TownSherry Balder
1947Adventure IslandFaith Wishart
Out of the PastMeta Carson
1949A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's CourtAlisande La Carteloise
The Great LoverDuchess Alexandria
1950The Eagle and the HawkMrs. Madeline Danzeeger
1951Cry DangerNancy Morgan
The Redhead and the CowboyCandace Bronson
The Last OutpostJulie McQuade
Little EgyptIzora
CrosswindsKatherine Shelley
1952Hong KongVictoria Evans
The Golden HawkCaptain Rouge
1953Tropic ZoneFlanders White
Serpent of the NileCleopatra
Pony ExpressEvelyn Hastings
InfernoGeraldine Carson
Those Redheads From SeattleKathie Edmonds
1954JivaroAlice Parker
Yankee PashaRoxana Reil
1955Queen of BabylonSemiramis
Tennessee's PartnerElizabeth "Duchess" Farnham
1956Slightly ScarletJune Lyons
The Killer Is LooseLila Wagner
While the City SleepsDorothy Kyne
OdongoPamela Muir
1957Gunfight at the O.K. CorralLaura Denbow
The Buster Keaton StoryPeggy Courtney
Gun GloryJo
1958BullwhipCheyenne
Home Before DarkJoan Carlisle
1959Alias Jesse JamesCora Lee Collins
The Big CircusHelen Harrison
1960The Crowded SkyCheryl "Charro" Heath
La Rivolta degli schiaviFabiola
1964Pão de AçúcarPamela Jones DeSantis
The PatsyHerself
1965Run for Your WifeNyta
1976Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved HollywoodRhoda Flaming
1980The Nude BombEdith Von Secondberg
1990Waiting for the Wind

Television[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Profile, briansdriveintheater.com; accessed September 20, 2014.
  2. ^ Seeing-Stars Beverly Hills High website; accessed September 20, 2014.
  3. ^ Rhonda Fleming interview, Warner Archive Podcast. Warner Bros. Entertainment.
  4. ^ TCM overview of Adventure Island; accessed September 25, 2014.
  5. ^ Rhonda Fleming Bing Crosby tribute
  6. ^ Profile, classictvinfo.com; accessed September 20, 2014.
  7. ^ Rhonda Fleming profile, Official Rhonda Fleming webpage; accessed September 20, 2014.
  8. ^ a b Rhonda Fleming at the Internet Movie Database
  9. ^ Celebrity Information biography on Rhonda Fleming, mysticgames.com; accessed September 25, 2014.
  10. ^ Palm Springs Walk of Stars by date dedicated, palmspringswalkofstars.com; accessed September 20, 2014.
  11. ^ Official site, rhondafleming.com; accessed September 25, 2014.
  12. ^ a b c ""The Washington Merry-Go-Round", Drew Pearson column, May 14, 1964". dspace.wrlc.org. Retrieved January 13, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Rhonda Fleming Companions". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved August 10, 2014. 

External links[edit]