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Laurie Mitchell, who portrayed the villainess who faces off against Zsa Zsa Gabor on the planet Venus in the campy 1958 sci-fi classic Queen of Outer Space, has died. She was 90.
Mitchell died Thursday of natural causes at a long-term care facility in Perris, California, author and horror/sci-fi movie aficionado Tom Weaver reported.
In Allied Artists Pictures’ low-budget Queen of Outer Space, based on an idea from two-time Oscar-winning screenwriter Ben Hecht, four men from Earth on the way to a space station crash on Venus in the year 1985, when the “age of space travel begins.”
The crew are captured by armed, mini-skirted women who are led by a man-hating queen (Mitchell) whose face is hidden by a glittery mask. Queen Yllana is out to destroy the Earth, but the space travelers, aided by the Venusian scientist Talleah (Gabor), aim to thwart her evil plan.
The role made Mitchell a fan favorite at film festivals and autograph shows for the rest of her life.
The actress appeared in two other low-budget films in 1958, Attack of the Puppet People and Missile to the Moon, then worked alongside Marilyn Monroe as a member of Sweet Sue’s band in Billy Wilder’s Some Like It Hot (1959), which, she told Weaver, was “the most thrilling experience of my show business career.”
Mitchell, whose birth name was Mickey Koren, was raised in New York City. She and her family moved to California when she was a teenager, and she studied acting with Ben Bard.
In 1954, she made her movie debut when she appeared as one of the two hookers flanking Kirk Douglas near the beginning of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and appeared on TV for the first time in an installment of Ford Television Theatre.
Mitchell also showed up in films including Calypso Joe (1957) and That Touch of Mink (1962) and on TV in Adventures of Superman, 77 Sunset Strip, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Hawaiian Eye, Perry Mason, Rawhide, Bonanza, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, The Addams Family and The Virginian.
Survivors include her husband, Ron; a son and daughter from her first marriage; two stepsons; and five grandchildren. A memorial service is set for 11:30 a.m. Wednesday at Mount Sinai Memorial Parks and Mortuaries at Forest Lawn.
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