Mary Orr

Actress, writer

Actress and writer Mary Orr died Sept. 22 in Manhattan. She was 95.

Oscar-winning film “All About Eve” was loosely based on Orr’s short story “The Wisdom of Eve,” about a scheming woman named Eve Harrington, based on a true incident Orr had observed. Published in Cosmopolitan Magazine in 1946, “The Wisdom of Eve” was turned into a radio play in 1949 by Orr, in which she played the role of Karen Richards, the playwright’s wife. The story was purchased by 20th Century Fox for $5,000 for writer-director Joseph Mankiewicz.

Orr was not given credit on the film, but she received a special Screen Writer’s Guild Award in 1950 for her contribution. Since she did not sell the theatrical rights to “The Wisdom of Eve,” she turned it into a play and later received “original story by” credit on the Tony Award-winning musical version “Applause” starring Lauren Bacall.

With her husband, the late writer-director Reginald Denham, she wrote four plays. “Wallflower,” the first and most successful ran for 192 performances and was turned into a movie by Warner Bros. in 1948.

As an actress on Broadway, she appeared in numerous plays, including “Three Men On A Horse,” “Jupiter Laughs,” “Wallflower,” and “The Desperate Hours” with Paul Newman and Karl Malden.

She is survived by three stepgrandchildren.

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