Cathy O'Donnell was signed to a movie contract by Sam Goldwyn after a brief flurry of stage activity. Cathy's first film assignment would remain her best: in Goldwyn's The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), she sensitively essayed the very difficult role of Wilma Cameron, high school sweetheart of double amputee Harold Russell. She spent most of her Goldwyn contract on loan to other studios: one of her better films was RKO'sThey Live By Night (1947), a Bonnie and Clyde precursor starring fellow Goldwyn contractee Farley Granger. In her mid-30s, O'Donnell was still youthful-looking enough to portray Charlton Heston's leprosy-ridden younger sister in Ben-Hur (1959), the actress' next-to-last film. After eleven years' retirement, the 46-year-old Cathy O'Donnell died of a cerebral hemorrhage.