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British actress Sally Gray dead at 90

British actress Sally Gray dead at 90

Sally Gray, the spirited, husky-voiced British star of the 1930s and 40s who turned down a lucrative contract to work in Hollywood, has died at the age of 90, her family said.
Gray, who became Lady Oranmore and Browne when she married into the aristocracy, died Sept. 24 at her London home, according to a family death notice published in the Daily Telegraph on Sept. 28. No cause of death was given.
Gray's appearance in two RKO productions in Britain _ "The Saint in London" (1939) and "The Saint's Vacation" (1941) _ persuaded the Hollywood studio to offer her a contract.
But she turned it down, saying she preferred to stay in England.
Born Constance Vera Stevens in north London, Gray trained at the Fay Compton School of Dramatic Art and was spotted by John Gliddon, the agent who discovered Vivien Leigh, at the age of 18 when she appeared in the chorus of a musical, "Jill Darling," in 1934.
She was soon taking lead roles in musicals, appearing as Miss America in Olympic Honeymoon (1936), "Lightning Conductor" (1938) with Gordon Harker and with Lupino Lane in "Lambeth Walk" (1940).
She scored a major success playing an American journalist married to a pianist in the 1941 drama "Dangerous Moonlight" (1941), but the same year suffered a nervous breakdown.
After a five-year break, Gray returned to acting with a series of movies, including the comedy thriller "Green for Danger" (1946), where she played a hospital staff member being investigated for murder by a Scotland Yard inspector played by Alistair Sim.
In the melodrama "Carnival" (1946), she was a 19th-century ballet dancer married to a dour farmer (Bernard Miles) but in love with the attractive Michael Wilding; in "The Mark of Cain" (1947) she played a French woman who causes rivalry between two brothers. And she was a crook's vengeful girlfriend in "They Made Me a Fugitive" (1947).
One of her best-known roles was as a cheating wife of a psychiatrist in "Obsession" (1949).
In her final film, "Escape Route" (1952), she played an FBI agent opposite George Raft.
In 1951, Gray married Dominick Geoffrey Edward Browne, 4th Baron Oranmore and Browne, and 2nd Baron Mereworth, who died in 2002 at the age of 100. Funeral details were not immediately available.


Updated : 2021-04-18 02:55 GMT+08:00