Happy 93rd Birthday Audrey Totter, born on 20th December 1918.
Among the certified classics she participated in were "The Postman Always Rings Twice" (1946) in which she had a small role as John Garfield's blonde floozie pick-up.
Things brightened up considerably with "The Lady in the Lake" (1947) co-starring Robert Montgomery as detective Philip Marlowe. The film was not well received and is now better remembered for its interesting subjective camera technique. Audrey's first hit as a femme fatale co-star came on loanout to Warner Bros. In "The Unsuspected" (1947), she cemented her dubious reputation in "B" noir as a trampy, gold-digging niece married to alcoholic Hurd Hatfield.
She then went on a truly enviable roll with "High Wall" (1947), as a psychiatrist to patient Robert Taylor, "The Saxon Charm" (1948) with Montgomery (again) and Susan Hayward, "Alias Nick Beal" (1949) as a loosely-moraled "Girl Friday" to Ray Milland, in the boxing film "The Set-Up" (1949) as the beleaguered wife of washed-up boxer Robert Ryan, "Any Number Can Play" (1949) with Clark Gable and as a two-timing spouse in "Tension" (1949) with Richard Basehart.
Audrey Totter and Robert Ryan in "The Set-Up" (1949) directed by Robert Wise
Richard Basehart and Audrey Totter in "Tension" (1949) directed by John Berry
-James Bowden: Some people assumed you'd marry Clark Gable because the two of you used to go out together.
-Audrey Totter: I never did. I knew him since "Adventure." Then we made "Any Number Can Play" (1949). Yes, we dated. He was a tremendous guy, very witty, with a huge romantic aura. But all the girls he dated looked a little like his late wife Carole Lombard. He was still in love with her. So we settled for being great friends.
Although the studio groomed Audrey to become a top star, it was not to be. Perhaps because she was too good at being bad. The 1950s film scene softened considerably and MGM began focusing on family-styled comedy and drama. Audrey's tough-talking dames were no longer a commodity and MGM soon dropped her in 1951. She signed for a time with Columbia Pictures and 20th Century Fox as well but her era had come and gone. Film offers began to evaporate. At around this time she married Leo Fred, a doctor, and instead began focusing on marriage and family. TV gave her career a slight boost in the 1960s and 1970s, including regular roles in "Cimarron City" (1958) and "Our Man Higgins" (1962) as a suburban mom opposite Stanley Holloway's British butler.