Film noir star Audrey Totter died Thursday at West Hills Hospital after suffering a stroke and congestive heart failure. She was living in the Motion Picture and Television Home in recent years.
Audrey did not begin her career in film noir — two of her early credited roles were supporting parts in comedies “The Sailor Takes a Wife” and “The Cockeyed Miracle” — but a well-received supporting performance in 1946 noir classic “The Postman Always Rings Twice” foreshadowed the direction of her career. ‘The bad girls were so much fun to play,’ Totter admitted to the New York Times back in 1999. Her career included appearances in The Unsuspected, Tension, The Saxon Charm, and The Sellout. One of her most high-profile roles came in the noirish A picture “High Wall” (1947), in which she starred opposite Robert Taylor as the sympathetic psychiatrist for the asylum-bound murder suspect.
Totter’s career continued long past the heyday of the noir films for which she is best remembered. Beginning in 1954, the actress was a regular on TV’s episodic anthology shows such as “Four Star Playhouse” and “Schlitz Playhouse.” She starred in the brief ABC comedy series “Our Man Higgins” in 1962-63 and guested on “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “Perry Mason,” “Dr. Kildare” and “Hawaii Five-O.” She recurred on Chad Everett series “Medical Center” as Nurse Wilcox and retired after appearing on “Murder, She Wrote” in 1987.
In 1953 Audrey married Dr. Leo Fred – the assistant dean of medicine at UCLA – and remained with him until his death in 1995. The longtime couple had a daughter Mea Lane, and their granddaughter Eden Totter is a voiceover actress.