Hollywood Beauty, Icon Dead

Rita Gam

Hollywood has lost another glamorous starlet of the golden age of movies. In a time when Hollywood beauties were nothing but classy and the cream of the crop, this lady took it to a new level.

According to reports, Rita Gam, a glamorous actress who starred in such exotic films as Saadia with Cornel Wilde, Sign of the Pagan with Jack Palance as Attila the Hun and Nicholas Ray’s biblical King of Kings, died Tuesday. She was 88.  

Gam, who was director Sidney Lumet’s first wife and a bridesmaid at Grace Kelly’s 1956 wedding to Prince Rainier, died of respiratory failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, publicist Nancy Willen said.

Gam also appeared opposite Gregory Peck in Night People (1954) and Shoot Out (1971), in William Dieterle’s Magic Fire (1955), with Victor Mature in Hannibal (1959) and with Jane Fonda in Alan J. Pakula’s Klute (1971).

She and her co-star Viveca Lindfors shared the Silver Bear for best actress at the 1962 Berlin International Film Festival for their roles as the women in the hotel room in Tad Danielewski’s No Exit, based on the play by Jean-Paul Sartre.

Born in Pittsburgh on April 2, 1927, Gam was raised in New York City. A founding member of The Actors Studio, she landed a role on Broadway in 1946 in A Flag Is Born, written by Ben Hecht, then made her movie debut in The Thief (1952) opposite Ray Milland.

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