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Rita Gam

  • Birthplace: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
  • Birthday: April 02
Date of passing: 
March 22, 2016

Rita Gam was an actress best known for playing the title role in the film Saadia, about an Arab girl whose life is controlled by a sorceress. The 1953 release also co-starred Cornel Wilde and Mel Ferrer. Gam was also the first wife of famed director Sidney Lumet, from 1949 until their divorce in 1955. She later married Thomas Guinzburg, president of Viking Press. In 1956, she served as a bridesmaid at the wedding of Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly, a longtime friend and former roommate of Gam.

Additionally, she appeared in the films The Thief, starring Ray Milland; Night People, with Gregory Peck; Klute, with Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland; Shoot Out, starring Peck; Midnight, with Lynn Redgrave and Tony Curtis; Sign of the Pagan, with Jack Palance; and director Nicholas Ray's biblical King of Kings.

In 1953, Gam was nominated for a Golden Globe in the category of most promising female newcomer, for her work in The Thief. In 1962, she and her co-star Viveca Lindfors shared the Silver Bear for best actress at the Berlin International Film Festival, for their roles in No Exit, based on the play by Jean-Paul Sartre.

Gam also appeared on television, including roles on the series Love of Life, Danger, The Jack Benny Program, The Edge of Night, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Jackie Gleason Show, Family Affair, McMillan & Wife, Mannix, Harry O, Greatest Heroes of the Bible, The Rockford Files and Tales of the Unexpected. In 1992, she produced the television documentary miniseries World of Film: India, which examined the movie business in Bollywood.

Rita Gam was an actress best known for playing the title role in the film Saadia, about an Arab girl whose life is controlled by a sorceress. The 1953 release also co-starred Cornel Wilde and Mel Ferrer. Gam was also the first wife of famed director Sidney Lumet, from 1949 until their divorce in 1955. She later married Thomas Guinzburg, president of Viking Press. In 1956, she served as a bridesmaid at the wedding of Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly, a longtime friend and former roommate of Gam.

Additionally, she appeared in the films The Thief, starring Ray Milland; Night People, with Gregory Peck; Klute, with Jane Fonda and Donald Sutherland; Shoot Out, starring Peck; Midnight, with Lynn Redgrave and Tony Curtis; Sign of the Pagan, with Jack Palance; and director Nicholas Ray's biblical King of Kings.

In 1953, Gam was nominated for a Golden Globe in the category of most promising female newcomer, for her work in The Thief. In 1962, she and her co-star Viveca Lindfors shared the Silver Bear for best actress at the Berlin International Film Festival, for their roles in No Exit, based on the play by Jean-Paul Sartre.

Gam also appeared on television, including roles on the series Love of Life, Danger, The Jack Benny Program, The Edge of Night, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, The Jackie Gleason Show, Family Affair, McMillan & Wife, Mannix, Harry O, Greatest Heroes of the Bible, The Rockford Files and Tales of the Unexpected. In 1992, she produced the television documentary miniseries World of Film: India, which examined the movie business in Bollywood.

Raised in New York City, Gam got her start on Broadway in 1946 in A Flag Is Born. She also appeared in productions of Wit & Wisdom, Hamlet and There’s a Girl in My Soup, with Gig Young. She was also a founding member of The Actors Studio, and was a leading member of the Minnesota Theater Company during the opening season of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, with Zoe Caldwell, Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy.

Gam died March 22, 2016, in Los Angeles. She was 88.

 

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