Helena Carter

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Not to be confused with English actress, Helena Bonham Carter.
Helena Carter
Helena Carter from Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye.jpg
Helena Carter in the trailer for
Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950)
Born Helen Rickerts
(1923-08-24)August 24, 1923
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died January 11, 2000(2000-01-11) (aged 76)
Culver City, Los Angeles, California
Spouse(s) Michael Meshekoff (1953-1997)
Children 1

Helena Carter (August 24, 1923 – January 11, 2000) was an American film actress in the 1940s and 1950s who is best known for her work in the film Invaders from Mars as Dr. Patricia Blake. From 1947 to 1953 she would appear in 13 films, during which time she also worked as a model.

Early years[edit]

Carter was born Helen Rickerts in New York City,[1] and her family was of Scottish descent. She graduated from Hunter College and attended graduate school at Columbia University, studying for a teaching degree.[2] During this period she worked as a fashion model, which led to her becoming a cover girl.


Carter was visiting friends at Universal studios when spotted by producer Leonard Goldstein. Universal signed her to a seven-year contract. Her first film role was Time Out of Mind in 1947,[1] which starred Ella Raines, Eddie Albert, and Phyllis Calvert.[3]

Universal put Carter in Something in the Wind (1948) with Deanna Durbin. She was loaned out for Intrigue (1948), billed third after George Raft and June Havoc.[4]

Back at Universal she was in River Lady (1948) vying with Yvonne de Carlo for Rod Cameron. In 1948 she appeared on the cover of Life Magazine.[5]

Carter was Douglas Fairbanks Jr's love interest in The Fighting O'Flynn (1949).[6] She turned down the part of Richard Long's wife in Ma and Pa Kettle in October 1948; Meg Randall played the role.[7] Carter wanted out of her Universal contract; they agreed provided she paid back some of her recent salary.[8]

In 1949 Hedda Hopper reported that Carter had become "difficult" after her first film and turned down the lead in an Abbott and Costello film, resulting in getting "the silent treatment" from the studio for a year "before she saw the light" and got the lead in Double Crossbones.[9]

James Cagney and his brother William borrowed her for Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye (1950), made by William Cagney Productions. Back at Universal she supported Shelley Winters in South Sea Sinner (1951).[10] She supported Donald O'Connor in Double Crossbones (1951) and Randolph Scott in the 1951 western Fort Worth.

William Cagney used her again in Bugles in the Afternoon (1952) with Ray Milland.[11] Sam Katzman used her in The Golden Hawk (1952) and The Pathfinder (1953). Her final film role was in 1953 when she starred in William Cameron Menzies' sci-fi thriller Invaders from Mars. She retired on her second marriage.[12]

Personal life[edit]

Carter married twice, the first ending in divorce. On December 31, 1953, she married Michael Meshekoff,[13] with whom she would remain until his death in 1997.


Carter died at age 76 in Los Angeles, California, on January 11, 2000.[14]


Year Title Role Notes
1947 Time Out of Mind Dora Drake
Something in the Wind Clarissa Prentice
Intrigue Linda Parker
1948 River Lady Stephanie Morrison
1949 The Fighting O'Flynn Lady Benedetta
1950 Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye Margaret Dobson
South Sea Sinner Margaret Landis
1951 Double Crossbones Lady Sylvia Copeland
Fort Worth Amy Brooks
1952 Bugles in the Afternoon Josephine Russell
The Golden Hawk Blanca de Valdiva
The Pathfinder Alison
1953 Invaders from Mars Dr. Patricia Blake


  1. ^ a b "Helena Carter; Model, Movie Actress of 1940s and '50s". Los Angeles Times. January 25, 2000. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
  2. ^ "Helena Carter One of Several Standouts in Movie Now Unreeling". Shamokin News-Dispatch. Pennsylvania, Shamokin. August 31, 1950. p. 14. Retrieved November 2, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  3. ^ Scott, J. L. (1948, Jun 20). GLAMOUR GIRL FOUND TO HAVE ABILITY, TOO. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/165852875?accountid=13902
  4. ^ Schallert, E. (1947, Apr 28). DRAMA AND FILM. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/165748138?accountid=13902
  5. ^ "Movie Fencers". Life Magazine. November 8, 1948. 
  6. ^ By THOMAS F BRADY Special to The New York Times. (1948, Apr 20). COLUMBIA TO FILM BARRY STORM WORK. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/108401432?accountid=13902
  7. ^ Schallert, E. (1948, Nov 10). Policing of race tracks stirs up documentary; noted britisher signed. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/165870793?accountid=13902
  8. ^ Jean Peters to Star With Ray Milland Hopper, Hedda. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File); Los Angeles, Calif. [Los Angeles, Calif]13 Nov 1948: 9.
  9. ^ HEDDA HOPPER. (1949, Aug 08). Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/165991139?accountid=13902
  10. ^ By THOMAS F BRADY Special to The New York Times. (1949, Jul 01). JANET LEIGH GETS 2 RKO FILM LEADS. New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/105964331?accountid=13902
  11. ^ Schallert, E. (1951, Jun 06). Drama. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/166203588?accountid=13902
  12. ^ Obituaries; * helena carter; model, movie actress of 1940s and '50s. (2000, Jan 25). Los Angeles Times Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.sl.nsw.gov.au/docview/421460840?accountid=13902
  13. ^ "Marriages". Billboard. January 16, 1954. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 
  14. ^ III, Harris M. Lentz (2001). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2000: Film, Television, Radio, Theatre, Dance, Music, Cartoons and Pop Culture. McFarland. pp. 40–41. ISBN 9780786410248. Retrieved 2 November 2016. 

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