Friday, April 19, 2019

Nancy Gates Passes On

Nancy Gates, who appeared in such films as The Spanish Main (1945), Suddenly (1954), and Some Came Running, as well as numerous guest appearances on television, died on March 24 2019 at the age of 93.

Nancy Gates was born on February 1 1926 in Dallas, Texas. She grew up in Denton, Texas. She took to entertaining while very young, performing a soft shoe number at an Easter programme at a local school when she was only about six years old. She would appear in various other local productions while she was still very young, and before she graduated from high school she had her own radio show on Dallas station WFAA.

Miss Gates was only 15 when she signed a contract with RKO. She screen tested for the role of Lucy Morgan in The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), but the part ultimately went to Anne Baxter. Her first credited role was in The Great Gildersleeve (1942), an adaptation of the radio show of the same name. In the Forties she appeared in such films as Hitler's Children (1943), This Land is Mine (1943), Gildersleeve's Bad Day (1943), A Night of Adventure (1944), The Spanish Main (1945), Cheyenne Takes Over (1947), Check Your Guns (1948), and Roll, Thunder, Roll! (1949). 

In the Fifties she appeared in such films as At Sword's Point (1952), The Atomic City (1952), The Member of the Wedding (1952), Hell's Half Acre (1954), Suddenly (1954), Masterson of Kansas (1954), Top of the World (1955), World without End (1956), Magnificent Roughnecks (1956), The Search for Bridey Murphy (1956), The Brass Lengend (1956), The Rawhide Trail (1958), Some Came Running (1958), The Gunfight at Dodge City (1959), and Comanche Station (1960).  Nancy Gates made her television debut in an episode of The Adventures of Ellery Queen in 1952. In the Fifties she guest starred on such TV shows as Four Star Playhouse, The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse, The Lone Wolf, The Man Behind the Badge, Studio 57, Lone Wolf, The Whistler, Science Fiction Theatre, General Electric Theatre, Screen Directors Playhouse, Adventures of the Falcon, Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Red Skelton Show, Lux Video Theatre, Kraft Television Theatre, The Loretta Young Show, Trackdown, Perry Mason, Wagon Train, 77 Sunset Strip, Maverick, The Millionaire, Men into Space, Bourbon Street Beat, Hawaiian Eye, and Laramie.

In the Sixties Nancy Gates guest starred on the shows Hong Kong, Zane Grey Theatre, The Detectives, Tales of Wells Fargo, Bus Stop, Adventures in Paradise, Gunsmoke, The Lloyd Bridges Show, Wagon Train, The Virginian, Kentucky Jones, Perry Mason, Rawhide, The Loner, Burke's Law, Bonanza, and The Mod Squad.

Nancy Gates was an immensely talented actress. Over the years she played everything from Princess Henriette in At Sword's Point to a mother whose family are terrorised by would-be assassins in Suddenly to the heir of a candy manufacturer in one of her episodes of Perry Mason. And while a lion's share of her films were B-Westerns, even in those oaters she played a variety of roles. In Masterson of Kansas she played a schoolmarm. In The Gunfight at Dodge City she played a saloon owner.  In Comanche Station she played a woman abducted by the Comanche. Nancy Gates was a versatile actress who could play a wide variety of roles. It is little wonder she was so much in demand in films and on television.

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