Maggie Blye, Actress in the Original 'The Italian Job,' Dies at 73

Courtesy of Photofest
Margaret Blye

The Houston native also appeared in 'Hombre,' 'Hard Times' and as Elizabeth Taylor's daughter in 'Ash Wednesday.'

Maggie Blye, the blond Houston actress who supported such action films as Hombre, Hard Times and the original The Italian Job, has died. She was 73.

Blye died on March 24 in West Hollywood after a two-year battle with cancer, her sister, casting director Judy Blye Wilson (The Young and the Restless), announced.

Blye also portrayed the daughter of Elizabeth Taylor and Henry Fonda's characters in Ash Wednesday (1973) and appeared in Waterhole #3 (1967) opposite Carroll O’Connor and James Coburn and in Diamonds for Breakfast (1968) with Marcello Mastroianni.

Blye stood out as the girlfriend of Benny Hill's Professor Peach in the British caper classic The Italian Job (1969). She memorably appears in the film in knee-high boots and a brown leather skirt suit after bringing her silver Aston Martin to a stop, then angrily pelts Michael Caine's character with a succession of stuffed animals.

Blye played an unhappily married boarder in the Paul Newman film Hombre (1967) and was Gayleen Schoonover, the fiancee of Coburn's Speed Weed, in the fisticuffs film Hard Times (1975).

Blye studied at the University of Texas and transferred to UCLA for her senior year. She was spotted by an agent in Los Angeles and won a small role in an adaptation of Tennessee Williams' Summer and Smoke (1961), starring Laurence Harvey and Geraldine Page.

Her film résumé also included The Sporting Club (1971), The Final Chapter: Walking Tall (1977), Little Darlings (1980), The Entity (1982), Last Goodbye (2004), The Gingerdead Man (2005) and Man in the Chair (2007).

On television, Blye appeared with O’Connor in the series In the Heat of the Night and showed up on shows including Perry Mason, Gunsmoke, Ben Casey, The Rockford Files, Hart to Hart and Lois & Clark: The New Adventures of Superman.

Blye served for many years on the Foreign Language Film Award Screening Committee at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

In addition to her sister, survivors include her brother Richard and several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held on Wednesday at the Forest Park Lawndale Funeral Home in Houston. A memorial to celebrate Blye's life will be held in Los Angeles at a later date. Contributions can be made to the American Cancer Society.

  

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