Born and raised in the Fort Worth, Texas, area
After completing high school, moved with family to San Antonio
While studying at Pasadena Playhouse's summer program, spotted by a talent scout from Paramount; auditions but is not given contract
Singer Ella Logan reportedly saw her photograph on her father's desk and Logan contacted her husband, a producer, to test Hyer
Put under contract by RKO
Film debut in uncredited bit role as a party guest in "The Locket"
Had small role as a maid in "Born to Kill"
Appeared in numerous B Westerns with Tim Holt in the late 1940s and early 1950s, like "Gun Smugglers" (1948) and "The Rustlers" (1949)
Contract with RKO ended
After marriage to producer-director Ray Stahl, settled in NYC
Was topbilled in "Geisha Girl", although did not play title character
Had featured role in "Abbott and Costello Go to Mars"
Modeled briefly using the name Martha Lou Spring
Became a blonde for appearance in the Billy Wilder-directed "Sabrina"
Co-starred with Rock Hudson in "Battle Hymn", the fact-based drama about a minister haunted by his actions during WWII
Cast as the witchy older sister Cordelia in the remake of "My Man Godfrey"
Received Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for playing a prim and proper writing teacher attracted to one of her students (Frank Sinatra) in "Some Came Running"
Portrayed the lusty Herodias in "The Big Fisherman", helmed by Frank Borzage
Played the attractive agent of a best-selling writer in "Wives and Lovers"
Cast as a call girl turned movie star in "The Carpetbaggers", based on the Harold Robbins' novel
Had featured role in "The Sons of Katie Elder", starring John Wayne and Dean Martin
Played the unconcerned wife of a kidnap victim in "The Happening"
Last film, "The Day of the Wolves"
Reportedly did uncredited screenwriting work on "Rooster Cogburn", starring John Wayne and Katharine Hepburn; produced by husband Hal Wallis
Reportedly became involved in the potentially scandalous misuse of money; was in debt to loan sharks; husband called in FBI to investigate and resolve the matter