Veteran actress Rita Gam dies at 88

Los Angeles, March 23 (IANS) Actress Rita Gam, first wife of director Sidney Lumet, has passed away. She was 88.

Gam died from respiratory failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center here on Tuesday, reports

During her acting career, Gam starred in films like “Saadia”, “Sign of the Pagan” and “King of Kings”.

Gam also appeared opposite Gregory Peck in “Night People” (1954) and “Shoot Out” (1971), in William Dieterle’s “Magic Fire” (1955), with Victor Mature in “Hannibal” (1959) and with Jane Fonda in Alan J. Pakula’s “Klute” (1971).

She and her co-star Viveca Lindfors shared the Silver Bear for best actress at the 1962 Berlin International Film Festival for their roles as the women in the hotel room in Tad Danielewski’s “No Exit”, based on the play by Jean-Paul Sartre.

Born in Pittsburgh on April 2, 1927, Gam was raised in New York City. A founding member of the Actors Studio, she landed a role on Broadway in 1946 in “A Flag Is Born”, written by Ben Hecht, then made her movie debut in “The Thief” (1952) opposite Ray Milland.

Gam was a leading member of the Minnesota Theater Company during the opening season (1963) of the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis with Zoe Caldwell, Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy.

Gam was married to Lumet (“12 Angry Men”, “Dog Day Afternoon”) from 1949 until their divorce in 1955. He went on to wed socialite Gloria Vanderbilt a year later. She then was married from 1956 to 1963 to Thomas Guinzburg, who served as the first managing editor of the Paris Review and president of Viking Press.

Soon after Gam and Kelly signed contracts with MGM, they roomed together with another girl in a one-bedroom apartment in Hollywood. They remained close until Kelly’s death in 1982.

Survivors include her daughter, film producer Kate Guinzburg, who partnered with Michelle Pfeiffer in Via Rosa Productions; her son, novelist Michael Guinzburg; and granddaughters Michelle, Olivia and Louisa.

Funeral arrangements have not been made yet.

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