Rita Eleanore MacKay
April 2, 1927
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Died||March 22, 2016 (aged 88)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
(m. 1949; div. 1954)
(m. 1956; div. 1963)
Rita Gam (born Rita Eleanore MacKay, April 2, 1927 – March 22, 2016) was an American film and television actress and documentary filmmaker. She won the Silver Bear for Best Actress.
Gam was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Belle (née Fately), who was born in Romania, and Milton A. MacKay, who was born in France to parents from Romania. Her father died in New York in 1931 and her mother remarried. Gam took the surname of her stepfather, Benjamin J. Gam.
Gam was a model before she ventured into acting. Her acting career began on Broadway and in television, after which she moved on to films. Her Broadway credits included There's a Girl in My Soup, The Insect Comedy, A Flag is Born, and A Temporary Island.
She appeared first in the 1952 film noir The Thief, which starred Ray Milland. In October 1952, she signed a long-term MGM contract. Another notable role was Herodias in 1961's King of Kings.
Gam was an occasional panelist on the famous live broadcast CBS game show What's My Line as well in the 1950s and early 1960s.
She shared the Silver Bear for Best Actress award with Viveca Lindfors at the 1962 Berlin Film Festival, for their performances in Tad Danielewski's No Exit.
In 1963, Gam was a leading member of The Minnesota Theatre Company in the opening season of The Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Gam appeared in a few more American films before working in Europe. She returned to the U.S. to appear in small parts in films, including Klute in 1971, before taking up documentary film making.
In 2003, she appeared in the rotating cast of the Off-Broadway stage reading of Wit & Wisdom. In 2004, she appeared in one of a series of ads for the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Personal life and death
Gam's first husband was director Sidney Lumet, whom she married in 1949. The marriage ended in divorce in 1955.
In 1956, Gam was a bridesmaid at the wedding of Grace Kelly to Prince Rainier in Monaco. Gam's 1956 marriage to publisher Thomas Guinzburg ended in divorce in 1963.
Gam died on March 22, 2016, at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, from respiratory failure.
Gam was the author of two books, Actress to Actress and Actors: A Celebration.
|1952||The Thief||The Girl||No dialog; MacGuffin|
|1954||Night People||Ricky Cates|
|1954||Sign of the Pagan||Kubra|
|1956||Magic Fire||Cosima Liszt|
|1958||Sierra Baron||Felicia Delmonte|
|1959||Wild Cats on the Beach||Rita Eldmont|
|1961||King of Kings||Herodias|
|1962||No Exit||Estelle||Also known as Sinners Go to Hell|
|1971||Such Good Friends||Doria|
|1974||The Gardener||Helena Boardman|
|1974||Law and Disorder||Woman in Cab|
|1996||Rowing Through||Iris Biglow|
|1997||Monaco||Short, Voice, (final film role)|
|1950||Believe It or Not||"The Secret of Nefertiti"|
|1951||Lights Out||Girl||"The Pattern"|
|1951||Somerset Maugham TV Theatre||"Appearances and Reality"|
|1951||Danger||"Marley's Ghost", "Inherit Murder"|
|1951||Lux Video Theatre||Leah||"A Child Is Born"|
|1952||Cameo Theatre||"Dark of the Moon"|
|1952||Casey, Crime Photographer||"Blackmail"|
|1952||The Adventures of Fu Manchu: The Zayat Kiss||TV film|
|1954||The Motorola Television Hour||Anna||"Nightmare in Algiers"|
|1954||The Jack Benny Program||Woman in Commercial||"The Jam Session Show", "San Diego Naval Training Center Show"|
|1955||Kraft Television Theatre||"Trucks Welcome"|
|1956||Front Row Center||Anna Deasy||"Deadlock"|
|1956||Screen Directors Playhouse||Lotti||"Affair in Sumatra"|
|1956||Westinghouse Studio One||Rain||"The Laughter of Giants"|
|1957||The Steve Allen Show||Comedian||"3.11"|
|1958||DuPont Show of the Month||"The Bridge of San Luis Rey"|
|1958||Armchair Theatre||Elsie||"Time of Your Life"|
|1960||The United States Steel Hour||Polly Chalmers||"The Women of Hadley", "Revolt in Hadley"|
|1964||Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea||Detta||"The Mist of Silence"|
|1966||The Jackie Gleason Show||Rosita||"The Honeymooners: You're in the Picture"|
|1966||Family Affair||Louise Marshall||"Beware the Other Woman"|
|1968||Hidden Faces||Mimi Jaffe||TV series|
|1973||McMillan & Wife||Pam Crane||"The Devil You Say"|
|1974||Mannix||Dr. Ernestine Waldo||"Race Against Time: Parts 1 & 2"|
|1975||Matt Helm||"Now I Lay Me Down to Die"|
|1976||Harry O||Naomi Cline||"Book of Changes"|
|1977||Love of Life||Nita Ray||TV series|
|1978||Greatest Heroes of the Bible||Xantha||"The Story of Noah: Parts 1 & 2"|
|1979||The Rockford Files||Cynthia Zakarian||"Guilt"|
|1981||Tales of the Unexpected||Lisa Brisson||"Completely Foolproof"|
|1983||Romance Theatre||Mitzi||"Love in the Present Tense: Parts 1-5"|
|1983||Tucker's Witch||Beatrice||"Formula for Revenge"|
|1983||The Edge of Night||Dora Coburn||TV series|
- ^ Judith Balaban Quine (1990). The Bridesmaids: Grace Kelly and Six Intimate Friends. Internet Archive. Pocket Books. ISBN 9780671707705. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
Rita Gam was born in Pittsburgh.
- ^ "Person Details for Rita Mackay in household of Milton Mackay, "United States Census, 1930"". FamilySearch. Archived from the original on April 3, 2016. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
- ^ "Person Details for Rita Gam in household of Benjamin J Gam, "United States Census, 1940"". FamilySearch. Archived from the original on April 3, 2016. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
- ^ "Person Details for Milton A. Mackay, "New York, New York City Municipal Deaths, 1795-1949"". FamilySearch. Archived from the original on April 3, 2016. Retrieved March 23, 2016.
- ^ a b c d "Rita Gam, actress - obituary". The Telegraph. April 10, 2016. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
- ^ "Rita Gam". Glamourgirlsofthesilverscreen.com. Retrieved April 27, 2014.
- ^ "Berlinale 1962: Prize Winners". Berlinale.de. Archived from the original on November 24, 2015. Retrieved February 7, 2010.
- ^ "Wit & Wisdom - Off-Broadway | Tickets, Reviews, Info and More". Theatermania.com. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
- ^ LIFE Magazine, May 5, 1952, p. 144
- ^ Staff. "RITA GAM REMARRIED; Film Actress Is Wed Here to Thomas H. Guinzburg", The New York Times, March 24, 1956; accessed September 13, 2010.
- ^ "Rita Gam Dead: Glamorous Actress Was 88". The Hollywood Reporter. March 22, 2016. Retrieved June 2, 2016.
- ^ Gam, Rita (1986). Actress to Actress. ISBN 0941130231.
- ^ Gam, Rita (1988). Actors: A Celebration. ISBN 0312017456.
- 1927 births
- 2016 deaths
- Actresses from Pittsburgh
- American documentary film directors
- American film actresses
- American people of French-Jewish descent
- American people of Romanian-Jewish descent
- American television actresses
- American stage actresses
- Jewish American actresses
- Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer contract players
- Ethical Culture Fieldston School alumni
- Silver Bear for Best Actress winners
- 20th-century American actresses
- Film directors from New York City
- American women documentary filmmakers
- Lumet family