Rhonda Fleming (born Marilyn Louis in Hollywood, California, August 10, 1923), is an American film and television actress.
She acted in more than forty films, mostly in the 1940s and 1950s, and became renowned as one of the most beautiful and glamorous actresses of her day. She was nicknamed the "Queen of Technicolor" because her fair complexion and flaming red hair photographed exceptionally well in Technicolor.
Fleming began working as a film actress while attending Beverly Hills High School, from which she was graduated in 1941. After appearing uncredited in a several films, she received her first substantial role in the thriller Spellbound (1945), produced by David O. Selznick and directed by Alfred Hitchcock. She followed this with supporting roles in another thriller, The Spiral Staircase (1946), directed by Robert Siodmak, the Randolph Scott western Abilene Town (1946), and the film noir classic Out of the Past (1947) withRobert Mitchum. Her first leading role came in Adventure Island (1947), a low-budget action film made in the two-color Cinecolorprocess and co-starring Rory Calhoun.
The actress then co-starred with Bing Crosby in her first Technicolor film, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1949), amusical loosely based on the story by Mark Twain. Fleming exhibited her singing ability, dueting with Crosby on “Once and For Always” and soloing with “When Is Sometime.” She and Crosby recorded these songs for a 78 rpm Decca soundtrack album. She also sang on NBC's Colgate Comedy Hour during the same live telecast that featured Errol Flynn, on September 30, 1951, from the El Capitan Theater in Hollywood.
In 1953, Fleming portrayed Cleopatra in Serpent of the Nile. That same year she appeared in two films shot in 3-D, Inferno with Robert Ryan and the musical Those Redheads From Seattle with Gene Barry. The following year she starred with Fernando Lamas in Jivaro, her third 3-D release.
Among Fleming’s subsequent cinematic credits are Fritz Lang’s While the City Sleeps (1956), co-starring Dana Andrews; Allan Dwan’s Slightly Scarlet, co-starring John Payne and Arlene Dahl; John Sturges’s Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957) co-starring Burt Lancaster and Kirk Douglas and the Irwin Allen / Joseph M. Newman production of The Big Circus (1959), co-starring Victor Matureand Vincent Price. Her most recent film was Waiting for the Wind (1990).
During the 1950s and into the 1960s, Fleming frequently appeared on television with guest-starring roles on The Red Skelton Show,The Best of Broadway, The Investigators, Shower of Stars, The Dick Powell Show, Death Valley Days, Wagon Train, Burke's Law, The Virginian, McMillan & Wife, Police Woman,Kung Fu, Ellery Queen, and The Love Boat. On March 4, 1962, Fleming appeared in one of the last segments of ABC's Follow the Sun in a role opposite Gary Lockwood, who was nearly 14 years her junior. She played a Marine in the episode "Marine of the Month".
In 1958, Fleming again displayed her singing talent when she recorded her only LP, entitled simply Rhonda. In this album, she blended then current songs like "Around The World" with standards such as "Love Me Or Leave Me" and "I've Got You Under My Skin".
Fleming has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 2007, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs, Walk of Stars was dedicated to her.
Fleming has worked for several charities, especially in the field of cancer care, and has served on the committees of many related organizations. In 1991, she and her late fifth husband, Ted Mann, established the Rhonda Fleming Mann Clinic For Women's Comprehensive Care at the UCLA Medical Center.
In 1964, Fleming spoke at "Project Prayer" rally attended by 2,500 at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles. The gathering, which was hosted by Anthony Eisley, a star of ABC'sHawaiian Eye series, sought to flood the United State Congress with letters in support of school prayer, following two decisions in 1962 and 1963 of the United States Supreme Court which struck down the practice as in conflict with the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution.
Joining Fleming and Eisley at the rally were Walter Brennan, Lloyd Nolan, Dale Evans, Pat Boone, and Gloria Swanson. Fleming declared, "Project Prayer is hoping to clarify the First Amendment to the Constitution and reverse this present trend away from God." Eisely and Fleming added that John Wayne, Ronald W. Reagan, Roy Rogers, Mary Pickford, Jane Russell, Ginger Rogers, and Pat Buttram would also have attended the rally had their schedules not been in conflict.