Rita Gam

Active - 1952 - 1996  |   Born - Apr 2, 1927   |   Died - Mar 22, 2016   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Western, Thriller, Romance

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Though Rita Gam was her real name, the Pittsburgh-born actress was castigated in some ill-informed circles for dreaming up a "nom de film" that alluded to her legs. Perhaps in response, she went to great lengths seeking out roles that relied on her talent rather than her looks. After tallying up some impressive credits on Broadway and live television, Gam made her motion-picture debut in director/star Ray Milland's no-dialogue feature The Thief (1951). Her subsequent Hollywood roles were largely unrewarding, so Gam went to Europe in search of worthwhile assignments. Her performance in the 1962 filmization of Sartre's No Exit won the actress several festival awards. She returned to America, where she played small roles in such New York-based films as Klute (1971) and Law and Disorder (1974) before inaugurating a second career as a documentary filmmaker. At one time, Rita Gam was married to director Sidney Lumet and was also a bridesmaid at Grace Kelly's wedding to Prince Rainier. Gam passed away in 2016, at age 88.

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