Rhonda Fleming, the actress who was famous for her red hair and amazing talent, has passed away at the age of 97. She was most well-known for her roles alongside Burt Lancaster, Kirk Douglas, Charlton Heston, Ronald Reagan, and other stars of the 1940s and 50s. Rhonda’s assistant broke the sad news to The New York Times, adding that she passed away in Santa Monica, California.
Fleming got the most attention from her first color film, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, which was released in 1949. The audience went wild for her red hair, and other movie producers wanted to cast her for more and more roles.
However, Rhonda didn’t like all the attention her looks were getting. She wanted the attention to be on her acting abilities and the characters she was playing.
“Suddenly my green eyes were green. My red hair was flaming red. My skin was porcelain white. There was suddenly all this attention on how I looked rather than the roles I was playing. I’d been painted into a corner by the studios, who never wanted more from me than my looking good and waltzing through a parade of films like ‘The Redhead and the Cowboy.”
Fleming starred along Ronald Reagan in several films before he entered politics: Hong Kong, Tropic Zone, The Last Outpost, and Tennessee’s Partner. She famously said of the soon-to-be President, “He surprised everyone because he never looked in a mirror. How many actors can you say that about?”
Rhonda Fleming was an immense talent who was well-respected by her colleagues and fans. She will be missed.