Happy 93rd Birthday, Audrey Totter!

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.