Cathy Downs

Cathy Downs

Port Jefferson, Suffolk County, New York, USA
Death 8 Dec 1976 (aged 52)
Los Angeles, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Section 17
Memorial ID 8856468 · View Source
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Actress. A former Vogue cover model, the blue-eyed, brunette Downs was brought from her native New York to Hollywood by a 20th Century-Fox talent scout in 1944. She was given a great publicity build-up and juicy parts in such big-budget productions as "State Fair" (1945), "The Dolly Sisters" (1945), and "The Dark Corner" (1946), and seemed destined for stardom after her winning performance in the title role of John Ford's classic "My Darling Clementine" (1946). But in 1947 Downs was inexplicably dropped by Fox, and she was never employed by another major studio. She may have been blackballed for refusing to sleep with her boss, studio chief Darryl Zanuck, who had a reputation for being notoriously persistent when it came to bedding his starlets. Her only public comment at the time was that she felt "a great relief" to be no longer working for Zanuck. Downs gave up on acting at 40, after years of slogging through sporadic television appearances and B-minus fare like "The She-Creature" (1956), "The Amazing Colossal Man" (1957), and "Missile to the Moon" (1958). She is now a cult-figure among sci-fi fans for her work in these Poverty Row epics. From 1952 to 1955 she was married to actor Joe Kirkwood, Jr., who played the character Joe Palooka in films and on TV. They had long been out of touch when in 1976 Kirkwood heard that Downs was in dire financial circumstances. He was setting up a trust fund for her when he learned she had died of cancer at 52.

Bio by: Bobb Edwards

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Originally Created by: Bobb Edwards
  • Added: 31 May 2004
  • Find a Grave Memorial 8856468
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Cathy Downs (3 Mar 1924–8 Dec 1976), Find a Grave Memorial no. 8856468, citing Woodlawn Cemetery, Santa Monica, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .