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Coleen Gray

Coleen Gray

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Also Known As: Doris Jensen, Colleen Gray Died:
Born: October 23, 1922 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Staplehurst, Nebraska, USA Profession: actor, singer, musician, waitress, office worker, librarian (at UCLA)

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

As a product of the post-World War II Hollywood assembly line, actress Coleen Gray fared better than many other pretty young things lured to the studios with the promise of a long-term contract. A plum role as Victor Mature's girlfriend in "Kiss of Death" (1947) gave the dark-haired Nebraskan just the right career boost, setting her up for memorable turns as Tyrone Power's comely accomplice in "Nightmare Alley" (1947) and as John Wayne's prairie sweetheart in "Red River" (1948). Equally adept at etching characters of virtue and vice, Gray segued seamlessly from playing a shady nurse in "The Sleeping City" (1950) to the heroine of "Kansas City Confidential" (1951), which paired her onscreen and off with leading man John Payne. Following a failed early marriage, Gray's assignments were largely routine until Stanley Kubrick lifted her out of B-movie mediocrity when he cast her as Sterling Hayden's gun moll in the heist drama "The Killing" (1956). In middle age, the actress endeared herself to a new generation of cult film fans by playing a potential victim of "The Vampire" (1957) and an amoral cosmetics company CEO who discovers the secret to immortality in "The Leech Woman" (1960). A familiar face on...

As a product of the post-World War II Hollywood assembly line, actress Coleen Gray fared better than many other pretty young things lured to the studios with the promise of a long-term contract. A plum role as Victor Mature's girlfriend in "Kiss of Death" (1947) gave the dark-haired Nebraskan just the right career boost, setting her up for memorable turns as Tyrone Power's comely accomplice in "Nightmare Alley" (1947) and as John Wayne's prairie sweetheart in "Red River" (1948). Equally adept at etching characters of virtue and vice, Gray segued seamlessly from playing a shady nurse in "The Sleeping City" (1950) to the heroine of "Kansas City Confidential" (1951), which paired her onscreen and off with leading man John Payne. Following a failed early marriage, Gray's assignments were largely routine until Stanley Kubrick lifted her out of B-movie mediocrity when he cast her as Sterling Hayden's gun moll in the heist drama "The Killing" (1956). In middle age, the actress endeared herself to a new generation of cult film fans by playing a potential victim of "The Vampire" (1957) and an amoral cosmetics company CEO who discovers the secret to immortality in "The Leech Woman" (1960). A familiar face on television, Gray quit show business for faith-based charity work alongside born-again Watergate convict Chuck Colson, but she reemerged late in celebration of her contributions to American cinema and to honor the memory of her departed co-stars and leading men. Her death on August 3, 2015 at the age of 92 was mourned by generations of film noir fans.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Cry From the Mountain (1986) Marian Rissman
2.
3.
 The Late Liz (1971) Sue Webb
4.
 P. J. (1968) Betty Orbison
5.
 Town Tamer (1965) Carol Rosser
6.
 The Phantom Planet (1961) Liara
7.
 The Leech Woman (1960) June Talbot/[Terry Hart]
8.
 Hell's Five Hours (1958) Nancy Brand
9.
 Johnny Rocco (1958) Lois Mayfield
10.
 Copper Sky (1957) Nora Hayes
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Milestones close milestones

1944:
Signed to 20th Century-Fox contract
1945:
First documented film credit in the musical "State Fair"
1948:
Supporting role in Howard Hawks' "Red River"
1949:
Co-stars opposite Mark Stevens in western "Sand"
1950:
Stars opposite Bing Crosby in comedy "Riding High"
1951:
Stars opposite George Raft in crime drama "Lucky Nick Cain"
1952:
Stars in crime drama "Models Inc."
1953:
Stars opposite Robert Stack in Korean War drama "Sabre Jet"
1954:
Stars opposite Sterling Hayden in western "Arrow in the Dust"
1960:
Starred in science fiction horror film "The Leech Woman"
1974:
Recurring role on McCloud" as Muriel Clifford
1985:
Final screen role in inspirational drama "Cry from the Mountain"
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Education

Hamline University: St Paul , Minnesota - 1943
Hamline University: St Paul , Minnesota - 1943

Notes

"When I attended the University, I daydreamed about being a movie star. I would do my dressing room in Early American and give lovely presents to my make-up man and hairdresser for making me loook so lovely, and so on. When I got my contract at 20th I was in seventh heaven, but I found out that a movie career is mostly hard work laced with disappointments".--Coleen Gray, quoted in THE BOSTON SUNDAY POST, November 9, 1947

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Rodney Amateau. Screenwriter. Married on August 10, 1945; divorced on February 11, 1949.
husband:
William Clymer Bidlack. Aviation executive. Married on July 14, 1953.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Arthur L Jensen. Farmer.
mother:
Anna Jensen.
brother:
Merle J C Jensen. IBM serviceman.
daughter:
Jerrilou Hollis. Born c. 1945.
daughter:
Susan Amateau. Born on June 10, 1946 in Los Angeles.
son:
Bruce Robin Bidlack. Born on June 1, 1954.
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