Rhonda Fleming (born Marilyn Louis in Hollywood, California, August 10, 1923), is an American motion picture and television actress.
She acted in more than 40 films, mostly in the 1940s and 1950s, and became renowned as one of the most beautiful and 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.
Fleming began working as a film actor while attending Beverly Hills High School, from which she was graduated in 1941. 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.
The actress then co-starred with Bing Crosby in her first Technicolor film, 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 these songs for a 78 rpm Decca soundtrack album.
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.
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).
During the 1950s and into the '60s, 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 and 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."
In 1958, Fleming again displayed her singing talent when she recorded her only LP, entitled simply Rhonda. 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".
In retirement, 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 husband, Ted Mann, set up the Rhonda Fleming Mann Clinic For Women's Comprehensive Care at the UCLA Medical Center.
Fleming has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
|The Spiral Staircase||Blanche||1945|
|Out of the Past||Meta Carson||1947|
|A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court||Alisande La Carteloise||1949|
|The Great Lover||Duchess Alexandria||1949|
|The Golden Hawk||Captain Rouge||1952|
|The Big Circus||Helen Harrison||1959|
|The Nude Bomb||Edith Von Secondberg||1980|