July 6, 1923
Siluria, Shelby County
|Died||April 11, 1970
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
|Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California|
|Alma mater||Oklahoma City University|
|Spouse(s)||Robert Wyler (1948–70; her death)|
Cathy O'Donnell (July 6, 1923 – April 11, 1970) was an American actress, best known for her many roles in film-noir movies.
She was born Ann Steely in Siluria in Shelby County in central Alabama. She attended Oklahoma City University and studied drama at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts before beginning her career on stage, followed by motion pictures.
In 1945 while under contract with Samuel Goldwyn, she made her debut in an uncredited role as a nightclub extra in Wonder Man. The next year she had her first major role in The Best Years of Our Lives, playing Wilma Cameron, the high-school sweetheart of double amputee Homer Parrish, played by real-life World War II veteran/amputee Harold Russell.
She was loaned out to RKO for one of her most memorable films, They Live by Night starring with Farley Granger, widely considered a classic of the noir genre and on the Guardian's list of the top ten noir films. The film was directed by Nicholas Ray. The two actors later re-teamed in 1950, for another movie, Side Street.
Later O'Donnell starred in The Miniver Story, as Judy Miniver and also had a supporting role in Detective Story. She appeared as Barbara Waggoman, the love interest of James Stewart's character in the western The Man from Laramie. Her final film role was the title character's sister Tirzah in William Wyler's 1959 Academy Award winning Best Picture Ben-Hur.
In the 1960s, she appeared in TV shows, playing mostly bit parts on shows such as Perry Mason, The Rebel and Man Without a Gun. Her last screen appearance was in 1964, in an episode of Bonanza.
Personal life and death
On April 11, 1948 at 24 years old, she married 47-year-old Robert Wyler, the elder brother of famed film director William Wyler. At the age of 46, O'Donnell died of a cancer-related cerebral hemorrhage, on the date of her 22nd wedding anniversary.
- Wonder Man
- The Best Years of Our Lives
- They Live by Night
- The Amazing Mr. X
- The Miniver Story
- Side Street (1949)
- Never Trust a Gambler (1951)
- Detective Story
- The Man from Laramie
- Eight O'Clock Walk (1954)
- The Story of Mankind (1957)
- My World Dies Screaming aka Terror in the Haunted House (1958)
- Ben-Hur (1959)
- "Cathy O'Donnell". Slice Magazine. Retrieved June 2012.
- Cathy O'Donnell at the Internet Movie Database
- Cathy O'Donnell at AllRovi
- Cathy O'Donnell at Find a Grave
- Cathy O'Donnell at Reel Classics