Rhonda Fleming, ‘Spellbound’ and ‘Out of the Past’ Actress, Dies at 97

’40s and ’50s star was dubbed the “Queen of Technicolor”

Last Updated: October 16, 2020 @ 6:00 PM

Rhonda Fleming, the actress who starred in films like Alfred Hitchcock’s “Spellbound” and Jacques Tourneur’s “Out of the Past,” has died. She was 97.

Fleming’s secretary Carla Sapon confirmed the news to TheWrap, stating that she passed away on Wednesday in Santa Monica, California.

Fleming appeared in more than 40 films, which included Robert Siodmak’s “The Spiral Staircase,” the 1948 musical fantasy “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court,” the 1957 Western “Gunfight at the O.K. Corral” and the noir “Slightly Scarlet.”

Over the years, she worked with people like Kirk Douglas, Burt Lancaster, Rock Hudson, Bob Hope and Ronald Reagan, with whom she made four films. Her other credits include “Pony Express,” “The Big Circus” and most recently, “The Nude Bomb” in 1980.

Fleming was born as Marilyn Louis in Hollywood, California, in 1923. She began working as a film actress while attending Beverly Hills High School, and was discovered by then well-known Hollywood agent Henry Willson, who changed her name to her famous name. She was then signed to a contract with David O. Selznick, who got her her first part in “Spellbound,” which he was producing.

She also made her Broadway debut in Clare Boothe Luce’s “The Women” and starred as Madame Dubonnet in “The Boyfriend.” Then, in 1957, she made her stage musical debut in Las Vegas at the opening of the Tropicana Hotel’s showroom. She also appeared at the Hollywood Bowl in a one-woman concert — in 1960, she was award with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

She also starred in television series including “Wagon Train,” “Police Woman,” “The Love Boat” and “McMillan & Wife.” She was dubbed the “Queen of Technicolor” because she photographed well in vivid color.

She is survived by her son Kent Lane, granddaughter Kelly Harman, granddaughter Kimberly Coleman, as well as great-grandchildren Wagner Harman, Page Harman, Linden Harman, Lane Albrecht, Cole Albrecht, and two great-great grandchildren Ronan and Kiera Harman. She is also survived by step-children, Candace Voien Cindy Jaeger, Jill Lundstrom and Kevin Carlson.

More to come…