German actress Ursula Thiess dies

Starred in 'Monsoon,' 'The Iron Glove'; married Robert Taylor

Ursula Thiess
Ursula Thiess, a gorgeous German actress who came to Hollywood at the urging of Howard Hughes and later married actor Robert Taylor, died June 19 of natural causes at an assisted-care facility in Burbank. She was 86.

Thiess was billed as "The Most Beautiful Girl in the World" during the build-up to her Hollywood debut, 1952's "Monsoon," for Hughes' RKO Pictures. She quickly appeared in "The Iron Glove" (1954) opposite Robert Stack, "Bengal Brigade" (1954) with Rock Hudson, "The Americano" (1955) with Glenn Ford and "Bandido" (1956) with Robert Mitchum.

In 1952, Thiess met Taylor -- who was married to actress Barbara Stanwyck from 1939-51 -- on a blind date and wed him in May 1953. They settled down on a huge ranch in Brentwood and were together until his death in June 1969 at age 57 from lung cancer.

Thiess appeared occasionally as a police reporter on her husband's 1959-62 TV series, "The Detectives Starring Robert Taylor," but did little acting after that.

Thiess also was married to Marshall Schacker, an international film distributor. Her first husband was German producer Georg Thiess.

A native of Hamberg, Thiess began her career on the stage in Germany and dubbed voices in American films. She also worked as a model and would appear on the cover of Life magazine in the U.S. and Spiegel in Germany.

Survivors include daughter Manuela (with Thiess) and a daughter and son with Taylor, Theresa and Terrance. There will be no memorial service. Contributions can be made to the Smile Train or the Humane Society.