Audrey Totter is a perfect example of what we prize as the genuine working actress. She specialized in playing women unfortunate in love, women with uncertain pasts, so-called “working girls” and unfathful wives. And she emerged as one of the toughest of the tough dames who graced some of Hollywood’s best film noirs.
Totter was so accomplished in her range of movie parts that she was warned that she would never be a star because she subsumed her personality in favor of characterization. Totter became a star anyway.
We are the beneficiary of her excellent body of work, and she certainly remains among the most remembered Hollywood actresses of the Forties and Fifties. (Totter, born in 1917, died two years ago at age 95.)
So, how much do you know about Audrey Totter? We challenged you to take our Monday Quiz to find out. As usual, questions today and answers tomorrow.
1) Question: Totter was inadvertently responsible for the career launching of which one of the following actresses? a) Jane Greer; b) Gloria Grahame; c) Marie Windsor; or d) Ava Gardner.
2) Question: In her prime Totter was a popular actress offscreen who was courted by which of the following male stars? a) Clark Gable; b) John Payne; c) David Niven; or d) Cary Grant.
3) Question: Totter notably played “Madge Gorland” in the 1946 version of The Postman Always Rings Twice costarring Lana Turner and John Garfield. Can you tell us who played the same part in the 1981 remake costarring Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange?
4) Question: Totter’s private life was as twisted as the domestic situations she often provoked in her onscreen performances. a) True; or b) False?
5) Question: Although we love her first and foremost for her big-screen performances, Totter was often identified in her later years for her performances in which one of the following tv series? a) Route 66; b) The Loretta Young Show; c) Medical Center; or d) Hawaii Five-O.
6) Question: Totter disliked Jane Greer and Gloria Grahame, actresses to whom she was usually compared as film noir’s notable Circe (the mythical Greek goddess and enchantress-witch), and avoided at all costs socializing with them offscreen. a) True; or b) False?
7) Question: Totter shared an offscreen similarity to sister noir dame, Marie Windsor. What was it? a) Both were vegetarians; b) Both were union officials; c) Both were registered Republicans; or d) Both had gambling additions.
8) Question: In which mainstream feature did Totter play a prostitute? a) Main Street After Dark; b)Women’s Prison; c) Man in the Dark; or d) The Carpetbaggers.
9) Question: 1949′s The Set-Up is perhaps the best of the film noirs with Audrey Totter. Can you tell us what role she played in the picture, and who her costar was?
10) Question: Totter was signed to a seven-year contract with MGM when she first came to Hollywood. Who was her choice as the fabled studio’s best actor? a) Clark Gable; b) James Stewart; c) William Powell; or d) none of the above.