Coleen Gray, best known for her role in Stanley Kubrick’s heist thriller “The Killing,” died of natural causes on Monday at her home in Bel Air, Calif. She was 92.
“My last dame is gone. Always had the feeling she’d be the last to go,” Eddie Muller, founder and president of the Film Noir Foundation, wrote on Facebook. He became friends with Gray while collaborating on his 2001 book “Dark City Dames: The Wicked Women of Film Noir.”
Gray played the accomplice of Sterling Hayden, the leader of a gang of thieves, in Kubrick’s “Killing.” She famously uttered the line, “I may not be pretty and I may not be smart …”
Gray appeared in a slew of films in the late 1940s and ’50s, primarily noir thrillers, including Henry Hathaway’s “Kiss of Death” (1947), as the film’s narrator and ex-con Victor Mature’s love interest; Tyrone Power’s aide in Edmund Goulding’s “Nightmare Alley” (1947); opposite John Wayne in Howard Hawks’ classic Western “Red River” (1948); as the mastermind behind a bank heist in Phil Karlson’s noir “Kansas City Confidential” (1952); and in Sidney Salkow’s “Las Vegas Shakedown” (1953).
She also starred on Broadway in 1949 alongside Charlton Heston in “Leaf and Bough.”
Her final film role came in 1985, with James F. Collier’s action drama “Cry From the Mountain.”
Gray had several TV guest-starring roles in the 1960s, including stints on the shows “Rawhide,” “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “77 Sunset Strip” and “Family Affair.”
Gray married three times. Her last husband, Joseph “Fritz” Zeiser, died in 2012 after more than 30 years of marriage. She is survived by her daughter, Susan; son, Bruce; stepsons, Rick and Steve; and grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held in her honor at Bel Air Presbyterian Church.
(Pictured in 1947’s “Nightmare Alley” with Tyrone Power)