End Credits #32: Cinema's 2015 Lost Treasures Coleen Gray
These are some of Cinema's sad departures of 2015 taken from my personal notes soon after the events took place:
Another actress of substance, style and grace has been lost to us and for "real" film buffs it is devastatingly sad. Coleen Gray, who possessed a wealth of outer and inner beauty on and off the screen, has passed away at age 92. She made her characters authentic and remarkable but most of all sincere. Her 'first class delivery' of emotions graced many memorable roles, especially in her introductory part as Nettie, the glowing, passionate love of Victor Mature's Nick Bianco from the stellar film noir Kiss of Death. She, along with Lizabeth Scott who was also lost to us this year, was one of noir's last surviving 'queens'. As Anna she would later effectively convey an exceptional devotion to another noir "bad boy": Sterling Hayden's Johnny Clay in The Killing. Gray provided inspired performances in other noir specialties like Nightmare Alley, Kansas City Confidential and The Sleeping City. She starred with Bing Crosby in the fun filled Riding High, opposite John Beal in The Vampire and made a lasting impression as June Talbot in the cult favourite The Leech Woman. As 'Fen' in the western classic Red River, her presence resonated throughout, even though she had only one early scene. Like John Wayne's first love lost in that film, Coleen Gray's incredible warmth and devotion will never be forgotten. And thanks to the magic of cinema those same special feelings she lavishly bestowed on Wayne's Thomas Dunson can be reciprocated by us for the rest of our lives. Coleen Gray (October 23, 1922 - August 3, 2015) R.I.P.