'Some Came Running' Star Martha Hyer Dies at 89

Martha Hyer 1950s - P 2014
Courtesy of Everett Collection

Martha Hyer 1950s - P 2014

The Oscar nominee and widow of legendary producer Hal B. Wallis also was memorable in such films as "Sabrina" and "The Best of Everything."

Martha Hyer, who received an Oscar nomination for playing a prim small-town schoolteacher opposite Frank Sinatra and Shirley MacLaine in the 1958 drama Some Came Running, has died. She was 89.

The striking blonde, who also was memorable as William Holden’s society fiancee in Audrey Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart’s Sabrina (1954), died May 31 in her home in Santa Fe, N.M., The Santa Fe New Mexican newspaper reported.

Hyer was married to producer Hal B. Wallis (Casablanca, The Maltese Falcon, True Grit) from December 1966 until his death in October 1986.

The glamour girl also starred in Battle Hymn (1956) with Rock Hudson; My Man Godfrey (1957) with David Niven; Houseboat (1958) with Cary Grant; The Best of Everything (1959) with Joan Crawford; The Carpetbaggers (1964) with George Peppard; and The Sons of Katie Elder (1965) with John Wayne.

Less prestigious pictures on her résumé included Abbott and Costello Go to Mars (1953), Francis in the Navy (1955), Bikini Beach (1964) and House of 1,000 Dolls (1967).

She was considered for the role of Marion Crane in Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) but lost out to another icy blonde, Janet Leigh.

Hyer portrayed Gwen French in Vincente Minnelli’s Some Came Running, an adaptation of the James Jones novel about an Army veteran (Sinatra) who returns to his home in the Midwest. Her supporting actress nomination was one of five (without a win) that the MGM film received.

Hyer was born in Fort Worth, Texas, and studied at Northwestern University. She was signed to a contract at RKO after a talent agent spotted her in a play at the Pasadena Playhouse, and she made her movie debut in The Locket (1946).

She appeared in several Westerns on the big screen, guest-starred six times as different characters on the Gene Barry whodunit classic Burke’s Law and showed up on Rawhide, Route 66, The Farmer's Daughter, Bewitched, It Takes a Thief, McCloud and many other TV series.

Her first marriage, which ended in divorce, was to C. Ray Stahl, who directed her in the African safari film The Scarlet Spear (1954). She wrote Finding My Way: A Hollywood Memoir, which was published in 1990.

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