Sally Forrest, a dancer, actress and protege of Hollywood pioneer Ida Lupino who starred in the 1949 feature dramas Not Wanted andNever Fear, has died. She was 86.
Forrest died March 15 at home in Beverly Hills after a long battle with cancer, publicist Judy Goffin announced.
Forrest starred as a young unwed mother who puts her baby up for adoption in shame and then wants him back in Not Wanted, then stood out as an up-and-coming dancer who is paralyzed from polio in Never Fear.
These performances led Hollywood columnistHedda Hopper to name Forrest the Star of the Year.
Lupino wrote and produced Not Wanted and appeared in the film as Forrest’s mother. (She also took over for Elmer Clifton after he suffered a heart attack during filming, making that film her directorial debut). Lupino, one of the few women to direct features in her era, then helmed and wrote Never Fear.
Forrest then reteamed with director Lupino in Hard, Fast and Beautiful (1951).
Born Katherine Feeney in San Diego on May 28, 1928, she worked as a model and taught ballet while still in high school. Forrest was hired as choreographer and lead dancer for her first film,Till the Clouds Roll By (1946), and went on to appear in several MGM musicals.
Forrest also appeared in such films as The Strip (1951) with Mickey Rooney; Bannerline (1951);Excuse My Dust (1951); The Strange Door (1951) with Charles Laughton and Boris Karloff; Son of Sinbad (1955); and Fritz Lang’s While the City Sleeps (1956).
She had musical spots on The Ed Sullivan Show, The Dinah Shore Show and The Red Skelton Hourand dramatic turns on such TV series as Suspense, Rawhide and The Millionaire.
Forrest married writer-producer Milo Frank in 1951, and they moved to New York two years later. She took over the starring role the opposite Tom Ewell in the original Broadway production of The Seven Year Itch (she had the role immortalized by Marilyn Monroe in the movie) and later appeared in major stage productions of Damn Yankees, As You Like It and No, No, Nanette.
Frank died in 2004. Survivors include her niece Sharon and nephews Michael and Mark.