Susan Peters

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Susan Peters
Born Suzanne Carnahan
(1921-07-03)July 3, 1921
Spokane, Washington, U.S.
Died October 23, 1952(1952-10-23) (aged 31)
Visalia, California, U.S.
Cause of death
kidney disease
Years active 1940–1951
Spouse(s) Richard Quine (m. 1943–48)

Susan Peters (July 3, 1921 – October 23, 1952) was an American stage, film and television actress.

Early life[edit]

Peters was born Suzanne Carnahan in Spokane, Washington. First contracted by Warner Brothers, she subsequently began working for MGM Studios after completing high school. Her first job was to read with potential actors in their screen tests. Before long she had impressed studio executives with her own talent, and they began casting her in films.


Tish trailer (1942)
Random Harvest trailer (1942)

For the first two years she used her given name and played small, often uncredited parts in films such as Meet John Doe (1941) before adopting her stage name. But her beguiling acting in a supporting role in the MGM programmer Tish resulted in a studio contract. Her first substantial role, in Random Harvest (1942), earned her an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress nomination.

Further impressed, MGM began to groom her for starring roles, casting her in several lesser productions that allowed her to learn her craft. A starring role in Song of Russia (1943) earned her critical acclaim, but the film was not a commercial success. However, in 1944 she was one of ten actors who were elevated from "featured player" status to the studio's official "star" category; the others included Esther Williams, Laraine Day, Kathryn Grayson, Van Johnson, Margaret O'Brien, Ginny Simms, Robert Walker, Gene Kelly, and George Murphy. An official portrait taken of MGM's contracted players during this period prominently features Peters sharing the front row with the head of the studio himself, Louis B. Mayer, and alongside such actors as James Stewart, Mickey Rooney, Margaret Sullavan, Katharine Hepburn, Hedy Lamarr, and Greer Garson.

Injury and subsequent death[edit]

Peters was married to the actor and popular film director Richard Quine on November 7, 1943. The couple adopted a son named Timothy Richard Quine. Peters and her husband were duck hunting on January 1, 1945 when a rifle accidentally discharged and she was injured;[1] the bullet lodged in her spinal cord. The accident left her permanently paralyzed from the waist down, which required her to use a wheelchair. Her mother, who had maintained a bedside vigil during her stay in the hospital, died in December 1945. Yet Peters attempted to continue her acting career.

MGM continued to pay her salary, but, unable to find suitable projects, Peters subsequently left the studio. She returned to the screen in the lead role in Columbia's The Sign of the Ram (1948), but the film failed to win an audience. A starring role as a lawyer in the 1951 television series Miss Susan was also unsuccessful. She toured in stage productions of The Glass Menagerie and The Barretts of Wimpole Street, and her performances were highly regarded, but her disability made her a difficult actress to cast.

Her career faltered, and after she and her husband separated in May 1948,[2] Peters suffered from depression. Her health continued to deteriorate until her death at age 31 in Visalia, California, from kidney disease and pneumonia complicated by anorexia nervosa.[3] Peters left her estate to her former husband.

For her contribution to motion pictures, Susan Peters has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1601 Vine Street.


Year Title Role Notes
1940 Susan and God Party Guest Uncredited
1940 The Man Who Talked Too Much Bit role Uncredited
1940 Young America Flies One of Jack's girlfriends Uncredited
1940 Money and the Woman Depositor Uncredited
1940 Santa Fe Trail Charlotte Davis Credited as Suzanne Carnahan
1941 The Strawberry Blonde Girl Uncredited
1941 Here Comes Happiness Miss Brown Uncredited
1941 Meet John Doe Autograph Hound Uncredited
1941 Scattergood Pulls the Strings Ruth Savage
1941 Three Sons o' Guns Mary Tyler
1942 Personalities Uncredited
1942 The Big Shot Ruth Carter
1942 Tish Cora Edwards Bowzer
1942 Dr. Gillespie's New Assistant Mrs. Howard Allwinn Young
1942 Random Harvest Kitty Nominated: Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1942 Andy Hardy's Double Life Sue, Wainwright Coed on Train
1943 Assignment in Brittany Anne Pinot
1943 Young Ideas Susan Evans
1944 Song of Russia Nadya Stepanova
1945 Keep Your Powder Dry Ann "Annie" Darrison
1948 The Sign of the Ram Leah St. Aubyn
1951 Miss Susan Susan Martin Unknown episodes


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