Louise Latham, Mom in ‘Marnie,’ Dies @ 95

Louise Latham, the character actress whose first-ever film role at age 42 was as the title character's manipulative mother in the Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) classic Marnie (1964), died February 12, 2018, at age 95.

Latham's death was reported locally at the time, but was only picked up this week by THR and Extra.

She was reported to have died in a retirement home in Montecito, California.

Latham as Marnie's Mama (Image via Universal)

Having been a stage actress, Latham secured an audition for Marnie, only to fall victim to the vagaries of traffic in L.A. and arrive a half hour late. As she walked into Universal, she spotted Hitchcock departing in his limo. Flagging him down, she managed to wangle and invite into the car, whereupon he took note of her relative youth (she was only a bit older than Tippi Hedren, whose mother she would play). "Believe me, I've just aged 10 years, "she told the Master of Suspense — and eventually got the part.

Though Marnie tanked when it was released, it has since been reassessed as a master work. It "changed my life, that's all," she said in 1965.

A scene from "An Unlocked Window" (Image via CBS)

Latham would work again for Hitch as a brassy housekeeper in the classic Alfred Hitchcock Hour episode "An Unlocked Window," about nurses weathering a storm in which a madman is murdering fellow women in white:

Other TV credits include appearances on Perry Mason (1965), Ben Casey (1965), the phenomenally rated final episode of The Fugitive (1967), Family Affair (1966-1968), The F.B.I. (1965-1969), Bonanza (1966-1971), Gunsmoke (1968-1974), Ironside (1969-1971), McCloud (1971), Rhoda (1974), Eight Is Enough (1977-1979), in the miniseries Scruples (1980) and as Mrs. Perky Sugarbaker, mother of the characters played by Delta Burke (b. 1956) and Dixie Carter (1939-2010) on Designing Women (1986). Her final acting role was on  TV's The X-Files (2000).

Latham as seen in a later head shot (Image via head shot)

She appeared in a variety of films, including Firecreek (1968), Hail, Hero! (1969), White Lightning (1973), The Sugarland Express (1974), The Philadelphia Experiment (1984) and her final film, Love Field (1991).

Latham was married and divorced three times, and left no survivors.

1 Response

  1. The best episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents—the one that everybody remembers—was “Lamb To The Slaughter” and the best episode of Alfred Hitchcock Hour—the one that everybody remembers—was “An Unlocked Window”.

    Both brilliant, both classic. And both viewable on YouTube. I envy anybody who’s seeing them for the first time.

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