Flame-haired beauty Rhonda Fleming is truly one of Old Hollywood's last remaining stars, and at 96 (as of today!), she is among the oldest living survivors of the studio system.
Born on August 10, 1923, in L.A., she graduated from Beverly Hills High School and was discovered by the notorious — and notoriously successful — agent Henry Willson (1911-1978), the man who made careers for Tab Hunter (1931-2018), Rock Hudson (1925-1985), Robert Wagner (b. 1930), Troy Donahue (1936-2001) and many more.
How did Willson decide Fleming — then known as Marilyn Louis — had star quality? Simply by spotting her crossing the street when she was 16.
She got her start in bit parts in films like In Old Oklahoma (1943) and the smash Since You Went Away (1944), getting her first decent part in the Hitchcock (1899-1980) thriller Spellbound (1945).
Among the best-remembered films of the so-called "Queen of Technicolor" are Out of the Past (1947) and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court (1949), the latter of which gave her the opportunity to sing and cut records.
Deciding to take parts for big money rather than based on creative content, her film career in the '50s, while lucrative, was less memorable. But she made a fortune in real estate and enjoyed a successful nightclub tour that capitalized on the glamour she oozed.
After the '60s, she appeared in only three films — the dud Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976), The Nude Bomb (1980) and the 1990 short film Waiting for the Wind, co-starring Robert Mitchum (1917-1997) and Jameson Parker (b. 1947), although she was fairly active on TV throughout the '70s on such shows as Police Woman (1974) and The Love Boat (1978).
Married six times, Fleming is still active in mostly conservative charities.