Patricia Medina


Actor

About

Also Known As
Patricia Paz Medina, Patricia Cotten
Birth Place
Liverpool, England, GB
Born
July 19, 1919
Died
April 28, 2012
Cause of Death
Undetermined

Biography

A celebrated beauty in her native England, actress Patricia Medina enjoyed modest success in Hollywood during the early 1950s, most notably in Orson Welles' "Mr. Arkadin" (1955), before spending the remainder of her career in episodic television and low-budget features. The child of Spanish and English parents, her exotic looks made her a natural for swashbuckling adventures like "Fortun...

Family & Companions

Richard Greene
Husband
Actor. Married in 1941; divorced in 1952; acted with Medina in "The Fighting O'Flynn" (1949).
Joseph Cotten
Husband
Actor. Married from 1960 until his death in 1994.

Bibliography

"Laid Back in Hollywood, Remembering"
Patricia Medina Cotten (1998)

Biography

A celebrated beauty in her native England, actress Patricia Medina enjoyed modest success in Hollywood during the early 1950s, most notably in Orson Welles' "Mr. Arkadin" (1955), before spending the remainder of her career in episodic television and low-budget features. The child of Spanish and English parents, her exotic looks made her a natural for swashbuckling adventures like "Fortunes of Captain Blood" (1950) and "Botany Bay" (1953). By the 1960s, she had married actor Joseph Cotten and worked almost exclusively on television, save for a risqué turn in "The Killing of Sister George" (1968). Medina retired from acting in 1978 to care for Cotten in his final years before she, herself, passed away in 2012 from natural causes at the age of 92. Though never a celebrated actress, Patricia Medina remained an alluring favorite among fans of B-movies from the 1950s and early '60s.

Born Patricia Paz Maria Medina in Liverpool, England on July 19, 1919, she was one of three daughters by a Spanish landowner father from the Canary Islands and an English mother. Raised outside of London in the town of Stanmore, she spent a lengthy period in Paris, where she became fluent in French, Spanish and Italian. After winning top prize in a magazine beauty contest sponsored by Warner Bros., she began acting in her teens, and made her screen debut with an uncredited turn in the mystery "Dinner at the Ritz" (1937) with David Niven. She then found steady work in British features, rising quickly from bit player and supporting roles to the lead in "Don't Take it to Heart" (1944), opposite Richard Greene, whom she married in 1941. Though a sophisticated presence on the screen, her appeal was largely due to her exotic visage, for which English PR reps named her as "the most beautiful face in the whole of England."

Following World War II, she and Greene left England for Hollywood, where she signed with MGM. Initially, she found herself back as a supporting player in "The Secret Heart" (1946) and "The Foxes of Harrow" (1947) with Rex Harrison. But where many of her former British co-stars moved into A-pictures, Medina became a picture of second-on-the-bill programmers like "Francis" (1950), the first entry in Universal's much-maligned Francis the Talking Mule franchise. Save for a supporting turn opposite James Stewart in "The Jackpot" (1950), she was a fixture of both costume dramas and adventures set in foreign locales like "Plunder in the Sun" (1953) with Glenn Ford and John Farrow's seafaring drama "Botany Bay" (1953) with James Mason and Alan Ladd. She also co-starred with actor Louis Hayward in a string of low-budget swashbucklers, including "Fortunes of Captain Blood" (1950) and "Captain Pirate" (1952).

By 1954, Medina tempered her film work with appearances in television anthology series. The following year, she appeared as the female lead in Orson Welles' ill-fated "Mr. Arkadin" (1955). Having divorced Greene in 1951, Medina married Joseph Cotten at the home of power couple David O. Selznick and Jennifer Jones in 1960. Both actors experienced something of a career downturn in the following decade, working largely on television and in low-budget features like "Snow White and the Three Stooges" (1961), which featured Medina as the evil Queen. She made her Broadway debut with Cotton in a 1962 production of "Calculated Risk," then returned to an almost exclusive run on television until 1968, when she portrayed a predatory lesbian dominatrix in Robert Aldrich's scandalous "The Killing of Sister George" (1968). The following year, she joined Cotten in Japan for "Latitude Zero" (1969), a ludicrous science fiction adventure produced by Toho Films, makers of the Godzilla film series. Medina retired from acting in 1978, and spent much of the next two decades caring for Cotten, who retired in 1981 following a stroke and a laryngectomy. His death in 1994 prompted her to write an autobiography, Laid Back in Hollywood, in 1998. Medina would herself die of natural causes at the age of 92 on April 28, 2012.

By Paul Gaita

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

Latitude Zero (1970)
Lucretia
The Killing of Sister George (1968)
Betty Thaxter
The Red Cloak (1961)
Laura Lanfranchi
Snow White and the Three Stooges (1961)
The Queen
Count Your Blessings (1959)
Albertine
The Buckskin Lady (1957)
Angela "Angie" Medley
Miami Expose (1956)
Lila Hodges
Uranium Boom (1956)
Jean Williams
The Beast of Hollow Mountain (1956)
Sarita
Stranger at My Door (1956)
Peg Jarret
Mr. Arkadin (1955)
Mily
Duel on the Mississippi (1955)
Lili Scarlet
Pirates of Tripoli (1955)
Princess Karjan
Drums of Tahiti (1954)
Wanda Spence
Phantom of the Rue Morgue (1954)
Jeannette Rovere
The Black Knight (1954)
[Lady] Linet
Botany Bay (1953)
Sally Munroe
Sangaree (1953)
Martha Darby
Desperate Search (1953)
Nora Stead
Siren of Bagdad (1953)
Princess Zendi
Plunder of the Sun (1953)
Anna Luz
Aladdin and His Lamp (1952)
[Princess] Jasmine
Lady in the Iron Mask (1952)
Princess Anne/Princess Louise
Captain Pirate (1952)
Doña Isabela
Valentino (1951)
Lila Reyes
The Magic Carpet (1951)
Lida
The Lady and the Bandit (1951)
Joyce Greene
The Jackpot (1950)
Hilda Jones
Fortunes of Captain Blood (1950)
Isabelita Sotomayor
Francis (1950)
Maureen Gelder
Abbott & Costello in the Foreign Legion (1950)
Nicole [Dupree]
The Fighting O'Flynn (1949)
Fancy Free
The Three Musketeers (1948)
Kitty
Moss Rose (1947)
Audrey Ashton
The Foxes of Harrow (1947)
Desiree
The Beginning or the End (1947)
Mrs. Wyatt
The Secret Heart (1946)
Kay Burns
Hotel Reserve (1945)
Odette Roux
Double or Quits (1938)
Simply Terrific (1938)

Life Events

1938

Launched film career in "Double or Quits" and "Simply Terrific"

1945

Began playing leading roles in British films with "Kiss the Bride Goodbye"

1945

Went to Hollywood (date approximate)

1946

First American film, "The Secret Heart" with Lionel Barrymore and Claudette Colbert

1950

Began playing lead roles in American films such as "Abbott and Costello in the Foreign Legion"

1950

First film opposite Louis Hayward, "Fortunes of Captain Blood"

1954

Co-starred with Karl Malden in "Phantom of the Rue Morgue"

1957

Appeared a panelist on the NBC game show "High Low Quiz"

1961

Returned to primarily stage work after "Snow White and the Three Stooges"

1962

Successfully played in the drama "Calculated Risk" on Broadway opposite husband Joseph Cotten

1968

Returned to films to play a role in "The Killing of Sister George"

1969

Acted opposite Cotten in the Japanese-American co-production "Ido zero daisakusen/Latitude Zero"

1975

Cast in the adventure film "Timber Tramps"

1978

Retired from acting after final film appearance, the Mexican drama "El llanto de los pobres"

1998

Released autobiography Laid Back in Hollywood

Photo Collections

Mr. Arkadin - Movie Poster
Mr. Arkadin - Movie Poster
The Killing of Sister George - Movie Poster
Here is the American one-sheet movie poster for The Killing of Sister George (1968). One-sheets measured 27x41 inches, and were the poster style most commonly used in theaters.

Videos

Movie Clip

Mr. Arkadin (a.k.a. Confidential Report) (1962) - Last Christmas Morning The director, writer and co-star narrates the improbable opening, quick credits, then partial introduction of Van Stratten (Robert Arden) and Zouk (Akim Tamiroff), in Orson Welles' Mr. Arkadin, 1962, (a.k.a. Confidential Report).
Mr. Arkadin (a.k.a. Confidential Report) (1962) - Quite A Looker Zouk (Akim Tamiroff) listening as Van Stratten (Robert Arden) continues to reconstruct his story, leading to the Riviera, where he meets the daughter (Paola Mori) of the title character, played by the writer-director Orson Welles, in Mr. Arkadin, 1962, (a.k.a. Confidential Report).
Secret Heart, The (1946) - She's Worse Opening MGM's entry in the psychological-drama fad, Chase (Robert Sterling), home from the Navy, surprises girlfriend Kay (Patricia Medina), who works for his mom, and learns sister Penny (June Allyson) isn't doing well, in The Secret Heart, 1946, with Claudette Colbert and Walter Pidgeon.
Pirates Of Tripoli (1955) - The Double Blade First scene for Paul Henreid, as the partying and presumably Arab hero Gadrian, his girlfriend Rhea (Maralou Gray) sanctioning a deadly duel with Keppa (Peter Mamakos), before deposed princess Karjan (Patricia Medina) arrives, early in Columbia's Pirates Of Tripoli, 1955.
Pirates Of Tripoli (1955) - Princess Wench! The pirate fleet sunk in special effects, barmaid Rhea (Maralou Gray) tells Gadrian (Paul Henreid) and Hammid (Paul Newland) that fugitive princess Karjan (Patricia Medina) must be to blame, until she offers a plan to steal her own treasure, in the low-budget swashbuckler Pirates Of Tripoli, 1955.
Phantom Of The Rue Morgue, The - Serves Her Right Introduction of feuding knife thrower Rene (Paul Richards) and partner Yvonne (Allyn McLerie), Professor Dupin (Steve Forrest), fiancee` Jeannette (Patricia Medina) and student (Merv Griffin) in the audience, early in the Warner Bros. 3-D feature Phantom Of The Rue Morgue, 1954.
Phantom Of The Rue Morgue, The - Everything Is Freud Inspector Bonnard (Claude Dauphin) with Professor Dupin (Steve Forrest) lamenting his lack of suspects when Dr. Marais (Karl Malden), aide Jacques (Anthony Caruso) in tow, makes his first appearance, in the 3-D feature Phantom Of The Rue Morgue, 1954.
Avengers, The (a.k.a. Day Will Dawn) - You Norwegians With German spy Ingrid (Patricia Medina), English reporter Metcalfe (Hugh Williams) enters an Oslo pub, dueling anthems, brawl, and escape with Captain Alstad (Finlay Currie), in the early WWII thriller The Avengers, 1942, a.k.a. Day Will Dawn.
Desperate Search - Rough Landing Seaplane action as Brandy (Keenan Wynn), Julie (Jane Greer) and Vince (Howard Keel) watch Nora (Patricia Medina) arrive to help find the kids, in Joseph H. Lewis' Desperate Search, 1953.

Trailer

Companions

Richard Greene
Husband
Actor. Married in 1941; divorced in 1952; acted with Medina in "The Fighting O'Flynn" (1949).
Joseph Cotten
Husband
Actor. Married from 1960 until his death in 1994.

Bibliography

"Laid Back in Hollywood, Remembering"
Patricia Medina Cotten (1998)