Myrna Fahey in The Fall of the House of Usher
|Born||March 12, 1933|
Carmel, Maine, U.S.
|Died||May 6, 1973 (aged 40)|
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Myrna Fahey (March 12, 1933 – May 6, 1973) was an American actress best known for her role as Maria Crespo in Walt Disney's Zorro and as Madeline Usher in the film version of Edgar Allan Poe's, The Fall of the House of Usher.
She appeared in episodes of 37 television series from the 1950s into the 1970s, including Bonanza, Wagon Train, Straightaway, The Time Tunnel, Maverick (in the episode titled "Duel at Sundown" with James Garner and Clint Eastwood), 77 Sunset Strip, Laramie, Gunsmoke, The Adventures of Superman, Kraft Suspense Theatre, Daniel Boone, Perry Mason, and Batman.
Fahey was born in Carmel, Maine, near Bangor in 1933, and grew up in Southwest Harbor near Bar Harbor, Maine, where she was a cheerleader at Pemetic High School. She began competing in local beauty pageants in the early 1950s. She acted one season at the Pasadena Playhouse before breaking into TV, and became an avid skier in California. She invested in stocks and one of her contracts stipulated that she have a stock ticker in her dressing room. In addition to dating baseball player Joe DiMaggio, she dated actor George Hamilton. She died on May 6, 1973, at age 40 at St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California, after a long battle with cancer. She is buried in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Bangor, Maine.
Film and television work
Fahey complained in a 1960 interview that she was being typecast in "good girl" roles because of what directors called her "moral overtones," even though she wanted to play darker and more complicated characters. She had worked in many Westerns in the late 1950s, usually in the role of the sheriff's daughter, including an appearance on Gunsmoke in 1958 (an episode entitled: "Innocent Broad"). She also appeared in "Duel at Sundown", a notable episode of Maverick with James Garner, featuring Clint Eastwood as a trigger-happy villain. She starred in two episodes of Wagon Train: "The Jane Hawkins Story" (1960) and "The Melanie Craig Story" (1964). Her image branched out in the 1960s, helped by House of Usher and a role on the Boris Karloff-hosted TV series Thriller that same year entitled "Girl With A Secret." Even her Western parts became "darker." After a rough love scene in Bonanza in which she cut her lip, the cast presented her with an award for "Best Slapper in a Filmed Series."
Fahey's most sustained television work was a starring role in the one-season (1961–62) series Father of the Bride, based on a film of the same name starring Spencer Tracy and Elizabeth Taylor. Fahey likely got the role because, as one newspaper reviewer pointed out, she "looks enough like Liz Taylor to be her sister." Fahey was not flattered by the comparison, however, telling one interviewer "the fact that I'm supposed to look like Elizabeth Whats-Her-Name had nothing to do with my getting [the part], because we don't really look alike I don't think, we just happen to have the same colorings." Fahey wanted to be released from the show even before it came up for renewal, reportedly feeling too much emphasis was being placed on the "father" character and not enough on her "bride."
Fahey made four guest appearances on the drama series Perry Mason: Lydia Logan in the 1960 episode, "The Case of the Nimble Nephew"; defendant Grace Halley in the 1961 episode "The Case of the Violent Vest"; murder victim Myra Warren in the 1965 episode "The Case of the Gambling Lady"; and defendant Holly Andrews in the 1966 episode "The Case of the Midnight Howler".
Fahey became the subject of death threats while dating baseball great Joe DiMaggio in 1964. The FBI determined the threats came from a patient at the Agnews Developmental Center, a mental hospital in San Jose, California. Apparently the patient could not bear to see DiMaggio with anyone other than Marilyn Monroe, who died in 1962.
- Lewiston Evening Journal, July 6, 1951, p. 7
- The Dispatch, Aug 2, 1963, p. 2
- Evening Independent, Nov. 6, 1960, p. 49
- St. Petersburg Times, June 24, 1961, p. 21
- Chicago Tribune, Jan 16, 1961
- Lakeland Ledger, Oct. 6, 1961, p. 10
- Youngstown Vindicator, Mar 19, 1962, p. 14
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