Helen Walker

Active - 1942 - 1955  |   Born - Jul 17, 1920   |   Died - Mar 10, 1968   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Mystery, Romance, Crime

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Biography by Hal Erickson

"A beauty with brains" was the demeaning tag once attached to such actresses as Claudette Colbert, Madeline Carroll and Irene Dunne (it was assumed by some thick-eared publicists that individual qualities of beauty and brains normally cancelled each other out). In 1942, Helen Walker, fresh from her Broadway triumph in a play called Jason, was added to the intelligent-beauty categorization thanks to her impressive film debut in Lucky Jordan. Walker continued impressing fans and critics alike with her work in The Man in Half Moon Street (1944) and Murder He Says (1945). Just as her career was gaining momentum, Helen was seriously injured in a 1946 auto accident. She made a courageous comeback in roles calling for sophisticated shrewery -- 1947's Nightmare Alley was probably her best post-accident film -- but neither she nor her career ever completely recovered. In 1955, she retired from the screen; five years later, a group of her actress friends staged a benefit for her when her house burned to the ground. Helen Walker died of cancer at the age of 47.

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