Doe-eyed ‘Good girl’ Coleen Gray dies at 92
06 August 2015, Nirapad News: Film noir actress Coleen Gray, who generally played the “good girl” in hard-boiled films such as “The Killing,” “Nightmare Alley” and “Kansas City Confidential” before segueing into a prolific television career, died Monday at her home in Bel-Air. She was 92.
The death was from natural causes, said family friend David Schecter.
Gray appeared in a variety of films in the 1940s and 1950s, including the Howard Hawks classic western “Red River” opposite John Wayne and Frank Capra’s “Riding High” with Bing Crosby.
In her specialised noirs Gray was more likely to be cast as a woman vainly struggling to keep her man from following a dark path. “When I started out, I wanted to be a sex goddess,” Gray said. “But I guess I was the wholesome type.”
But Gray’s typecasting was somewhat a reflection of who she was in real life.
She was born Doris Bernice Jensen on Oct. 23, 1922 in Staplehurst, Neb. After earning a bachelor of arts degree from Hamline University in St. Paul, Minn., Gray joined her then-fiance in La Jolla. Eventually moving to Los Angeles, she worked a variety of jobs and joined a theater group. An agent spotted her at the theater and took her to Fox studios.
She changed her name to Coleen, with an unusual spelling to help it stand out, and Gray in tribute to Betty Grable. As her noir roles waned in the 1950s, Gray did a handful of science fiction and horror movies. In the cult movie, “The Leech Woman” (1960) she kills men to collect their fluid for her youth.
Then Gray appeared in early live TV dramas, and as guests in “Maverick,” “Rawhide,” “77 Sunset Strip,” “Perry Mason” and many others.
Gray and her third husband, Joseph “Fritz” Zeiser, were involved in a prison ministry organization founded in the 1970s by Charles Colson. Zeiser died in 2012. Gray is survived by her son Bruce Bidlack; daughter Susan Amateau; stepsons Rick and Steve Zeiser; 10 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. ?