Dee Hartford

Active - 1952 - 1976  |   Born - 1927 in Salt Lake City, UT  |   Genres - Science Fiction, Drama, Action, Comedy, Fantasy

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Dee Hartford was a model turned actress who became the third wife of director Howard Hawks. Born Donna Higgins in 1927, she was the older sister of Eden Hartford, who married Groucho Marx in 1954. Dee Hartford initially achieved fame in the late '40s as a model for Vogue magazine -- a tall brunette with beautifully etched features, she could stop traffic or conversation in a room by entering it, and cut a startling figure in photographs. Hartford chalked up exactly one big-screen credit in her early career, with a role in the 1952 Groucho Marx vehicle A Girl in Every Port, directed by Chester Erskine. She married Hawks -- who was more than 30 years her senior -- the following year, and did no acting during the six years that they were together. The two divorced in 1959, but the director gave her a small uncredited role in his 1965 film Red Line 7000. She had already resumed her acting career by then, on Gunsmoke, Perry Mason, Burke's Law, The Outer Limits ("The Invisibles"), and The Twilight Zone ("Bewitchin' Pool"). Her later work included appearances on Batman, Time Tunnel, Land of the Giants, and Lost in Space. Her work on the latter three series likely came about in part as a result of Hartford's sister Eden's marriage to Groucho Marx -- Marx was one of the primary investors in Irwin Allen's production company, which was responsible for all three programs. Her performance as the android Verda in the 1966 Lost in Space episode "The Android Machine" led to her return in the same role in a sequel, "Revolt of the Androids." Hartford brought an engaging warmth and sincerity to the role of an android who finds herself turning into a human, and is no longer content to allow herself to be treated like a piece of property, with no rights. As a result of "Revolt of the Androids," Hartford became one of the most popular female guest stars in the three-year run of the series. Her last screen role to date was in Michael Campus' 1976 thriller Survival.

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