New York, July 25 (IANS) Actress Mildred Joanne Smith, who essayed the role of Sidney Poitier’s love interest in her lone movie outing “Non Way Out”, is dead. She was 94.
Smith died on July 19, her family announced, reports hollywoodreporter.com.
In the 1940s, Smith starred in such Broadway productions as “Men to the Sea”, “Mamba’s Daughters”, “Beggar’s Holiday” (as the love interest of Alfred Drake), “Forward the Heart” and “A Long Way From Home”. All were short-lived, but she received great reviews.
In writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s “No Way Out”, Smith appeared as stoic young wife Cora Brooks. She comforts her husband Luther (Poitier), a doctor just starting out who is confronted by a racist patient, robbery suspect Ray Biddle (Richard Widmark), who causes all kinds of trouble.
Smith suffered injuries that included a broken back and ribs when the DC-6 that was carrying her en route to Newark Airport crashed in Elizabeth, New Jersey, in February 1952, narrowly missing an orphanage.
Twenty-five of the 59 passengers on board were killed.
After recovering, Smith concentrated on a singing career and starred with Duke Ellington and Billy Strayhorn in a musical revue, “Cockles and Champagne,” created for the London stage.
Smith was married to David A. Hepburn, a journalist and vice president for WNEW-TV here. He died in 1985.
She is survived by her daughter Vanessa, son David, stepdaughter Valerie and grandchildren Brandon, Chelsea, Cole, Kaleo, Sage and Koa.