Rhonda Fleming started her career with her first film in color, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1949) with Bing Crosby, Fleming who became immensely popular with producers because of her vivid hues, died at the age of 97. She was one of the most successful stars of the 1940 and ’50s, and did courtesy films like Spellbound.
Fleming said in a 1990 interview, “Suddenly my green eyes were green. My red hair was flaming red. My skin was porcelain white. There was suddenly all this attention on how I looked rather than the roles I was playing. I’d been painted into a corner by the studios, who never wanted more from me than my looking good and waltzing through a parade of films like ‘The Redhead and the Cowboy.”
Her work in Spellbound led her into another suspense film, The Spiral Staircase, in which she was strangled by the villain, George Brent. Her other work include, Abilene Town, a Randolph Scott Western; Out of the Past, a film noir with Robert Mitchum; and Adventure Island, a tropics thriller starring Rory Calhoun.
She said in a 1976 interview on the choices of the films she chose, “I made the mistake of doing lesser films for good money. I was hot — they all wanted me — but I didn’t have the guidance or background to judge for myself.”
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