Cathy Downs

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Cathy Downs
Cathy downs dark corner.JPG
in The Dark Corner (1946)
Born(1926-03-03)March 3, 1926
DiedDecember 8, 1976(1976-12-08) (aged 50)
Resting placeWoodlawn Memorial Cemetery, Santa Monica
Years active1945–1965
Robert Brunson
(m. 1956; div. 1963)

(m. 1949; div. 1955)

Catherine N. Downs[1] (March 3, 1926 – December 8, 1976) was an American film actress.


Downs was born in Port Jefferson, New York. She was the daughter of James Nelson Downs and Edna Elizabeth Newman.[2] A former Vogue cover model, she was brought to Hollywood in 1944 by a 20th Century-Fox talent scout.[3] She initially found little work as an actress, as the studio used her as a model, with limited opportunities to act.[4]

Downs began her film career with small roles in State Fair (1945) and The Dolly Sisters (1945). In 1946, she played the title role in My Darling Clementine and Clifton Webb's unfaithful wife in The Dark Corner. Following the success of My Darling Clementine, Downs was cast in a prison drama For You I Die (1947), an Abbott and Costello comedy The Noose Hangs High, and several Western films.

In 1947, Downs was inexplicably dropped by Fox, and she was never employed by another major studio.

By the beginning of the 1950s, she was appearing in low-budget films, including some science-fiction (sci-fi) stories, including the 1958 sci-fi/fantasy Missile to the Moon.[citation needed] She appeared in a television episode of The Lone Ranger in 1952. She portrayed Ann Howe in the syndicated TV series The Joe Palooka Story (1954).[5] In 1959 she portrayed "Amelia Roberts" in the episode "Marked Deck" (S1E21) of the western TV series Bat Masterson.

Downs worked sporadically on TV during the 1960s, with her final appearance in 1965 on Perry Mason as murder victim and title character Millicent Barton in "The Case of the Hasty Honeymooner".

Downs eventually abandoned acting at 40. She remained unemployed for the rest of her life. She is now a cult-figure among sci-fi fans for her work in these Poverty Row epics.

Downs has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution to television, at 6646 Hollywood Boulevard.[6]

Personal life[edit]

On October 8, 1949, in Las Vegas, Downs married Joe Kirkwood Jr.,[7] who played the character Joe Palooka in films and on TV.[8] The couple divorced on February 24, 1955.[9] They had long been out of touch, when, in 1976, Kirkwood heard that Downs was in dire financial straits. Kirkwood was setting up a trust fund for her when he learned she had died of cancer at the age of 50.[citation needed]

On July 21, 1956, Downs married Robert M. Brunson, an electronics executive. They divorced on July 29, 1963.[10]

She is interred at Woodlawn Cemetery, Santa Monica.[1]


Year Film Role Other notes
1945 Diamond Horseshoe Miss Cream Puff Uncredited
State Fair Girl on carousel Uncredited
The Dolly Sisters Miss Mascara Uncredited
1946 The Dark Corner Mari Cathcart
Do You Love Me Clothes model Uncredited
My Darling Clementine Clementine Carter
1947 For You I Die Hope Novak
1948 The Noose Hangs High Carol Scott
Panhandle Jean 'Dusty' Stewart
1949 Massacre River Katherine 'Kitty' Reid
1950 The Sundowners Kathleen Boyce
Short Grass Sharon Lynch
1951 Joe Palooka in Triple Cross Anne Palooka
1952 Best Laid Plans Mary Seaton
Gobs and Gals Betty Lou Prentice
1953 Bandits of the West Joanne Collier
The Flaming Urge Charlotte Cruickshank
1955 The Big Tip Off Sister Mary Joan of Arc
Kentucky Rifle Amy Connors
The Phantom from 10,000 Leagues Lois King
1956 The Oklahoma Woman Susan Grant
The She Creature Dorothy Chappel
1957 Curfew Breakers Mrs. Bowman
The Amazing Colossal Man Carol Forrest
1958 Missile to the Moon June Saxton
1958 Tombstone Territory Patricia Camden


  1. ^ a b Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. p. 206. ISBN 978-1-4766-2599-7. Retrieved February 3, 2020.
  2. ^ "Cathy Downs - The Private Life and Times of Cathy Downs. Cathy Downs Pictures". Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  3. ^ Women in the Films of John Ford
  4. ^ Scott, John L. (January 11, 1948). "Cathy Downs Surmounts Her Handicap of Beauty". Los Angeles Times. p. 33. Retrieved February 3, 2020 – via
  5. ^ Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company. p. 537. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  6. ^ "". Archived from the original on June 7, 2012. Retrieved December 21, 2016.
  7. ^ "Cathy Downs Married to Joe Kirkwood". Los Angeles Times. October 10, 1949. p. 2. Retrieved February 3, 2020 – via
  8. ^ Downs' biodata at The New York Times
  9. ^ "Cathy Downs Divorces Actor Joe Kirkwood". Los Angeles Times. February 25, 1955. p. 2. Retrieved February 3, 2020 – via
  10. ^ "Cathy Downs Awarded Divorce". The News Journal. Wilmington, Delaware. Associated Press. July 30, 1963. p. 35. Retrieved February 3, 2020 – via

External links[edit]