O'Donnell in 1959
July 6, 1923
Siluria, Shelby County
|Died||April 11, 1970
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Cerebral hemorrhage|
|Resting place||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 films.
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 film director William Wyler who later directed her in Detective Story (1951 film) and Ben-Hur. At the age of 46, O'Donnell died of a cancer-related cerebral hemorrhage, on the date of her 22nd wedding anniversary.
|1958||My World Dies Screaming
(retitled Terror in the Haunted House)
|Harold Daniels||Sheila Wayne Tierney|
|1957||The Story of Mankind||Irwin Allen||Early Christian Woman|
|1957||The Deerslayer||Kurt Neumann||Judith Hutter|
|1955||The Man from Laramie||Anthony Mann||Barbara Waggoman|
|1955||Mad at the World||Harry Essex||Anne Bennett|
|1954||Loves of Three Queens||Edgar G. Ulmer||Enone|
|1954||Eight O'Clock Walk||Lance Comfort||Jill Manning|
|1952||The Woman's Angle||Leslie Arliss||Nina Van Rhyne|
|1951||Detective Story||William Wyler||Susan Carmichael|
|1951||Never Trust A Gambler||Ralph Murphy||Virginia Merrill|
|1950||The Miniver Story||H.C. Potter||Judy Miniver|
|1950||Side Street||Anthony Mann||Ellen Norson|
|1948||They Live By Night||Nicholas Ray||Catherine "Keechie" Mobley|
|1948||The Amazing Mr. X||Bernard Vorhaus||Janet Burke|
|1947||Bury Me Dead||Bernard Vorhaus||Rusty|
|1946||The Best Years of Our Lives||William Wyler||Wilma Cameron|
|1945||Wonder Man||H. Bruce Humberstone||(Uncredited)|
|1964||Bonanza||The Lila Conrad Story||Sarah Knowles|
|1961||Perry Mason||The Case of the Fickle Fortune||Norma Brooks|
|1960||The Rebel||The Hope Chest||Felicity Bowman|
|1960||Tate||Quiet After the Storm||Amy|
|1960||The Rebel||You Steal My Eyes||Prudence Gant|
|1960||The Detectives||The Trap||Laurie Dolan|
|1959||Man Without a Gun||Accused|
|1958||The Californians||Skeleton in the Closet||Grace Adams|
|1958||Zane Grey Theater||Sundown at Bitter Creek||Jennie Parsons|
|1956||Matinee Theater||Greybeards and Witches||Velna|
|1955||Climax!||Flight 951||Mona Herbert|
|1955||The Best of Broadway||The Best of Broadway||Amy Fisher|
|1954||Center Stage||Chivalry at Howling Creek|
|1954||The Philip Morris Playhouse||Up for Parole|
|1952||Orient Express||13th Spy||Francine Gilman|
|1951||Lights Out||To See Ourselves|
- David M. Story (June 2012). "Dream a Little Dream". Slice. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
- Cathy O'Donnell at the Internet Movie Database
- Cathy O'Donnell at AllMovie
- Cathy O'Donnell at Find a Grave
- Cathy O'Donnell at Reel Classics