When it comes to Rhonda Fleming, the reality behind the onscreen portrayals is confounding.
This talented actress, who graced a broad range of pictures in the late Forties and Fifties, was often presented as an unnervingly beautiful, sexy, unscrupulous vixen, testing the likes of Robert Mitchum, Dana Andrews and Robert Ryan, among others, in five of the best film noirs ever made.
She was a nasty piece of work, and not to be fooled with. For example, she costars with tough guy Ted DeCorsia as a blazing redhead in Allan Dwan’s 1956 thriller, Slightly Scarlett, and winds up blowing a hole in DeCorsia’s chest using a harpoon gun. Ouch!
Offscreen, Fleming was (and is; she is still with us at 92) a smart, savvy woman with her head screwed firmly in place. She is a generous donor to a host of worthy causes and charities, loves sports, the idea of adopting rescue dogs, is highly religious and politically conservative. She was one fine actress.
Our Monday Quiz is designed to highlight not only Fleming’s distinguished noir work but her wide range of movies from comedies to sci-fi, an occasional Italian epic and westerns. And, yes, she really was discovered by an agent who actually asked: Have you ever thought of being in motion pictures?
On to our Quiz:
1) Question: Which of the following Hollywood agents really did discover Fleming and launched her movie career? a) Myron Selznick; b) Henry Willson; c) Lew Wasserman; or d) Sue Mengers.
2) Question: As a young Beverly Hills High School girl, Fleming never studied acting but instead was intent on pursing a singing career. Who was her early idol? a) Judy Garland; b) Deanna Durbin; c) Mae West; or d) Kathryn Grayson.
3) Question: Which one of the following was NOT among Fleming’s leading men? a) Ronald Reagan; b) Burt Lancaster; c) Joseph Cotten; or d) Bing Crosby.
4) Question: Who was Fleming’s leading man in the following movies? a) 1951’s The Last Outpost; b) 1952’s Hong Kong; c) 1953’s Tropic Zone; and d) 1955’s Tennessee’s Partner. (Hint: he had political ambitions.)
5) Question: Fleming considered herself an athletic performer, and did her own movie stunts. a) True; or b) False.
6) Question: Which one of the following was Fleming’s favorite female costar? a) Ingrid Bergman; b) Arlene Dahl; c) Jane Greer; or d) Sally Forrest.
7) Question: One of the highlights of Fleming’s career appeared live onstage in Las Vegas in the late Sixties. What happened? a) She sat on top of Liberace’s piano; b) She danced with Elvis; c) She performed her first striptease in public; or d) performed at the Tropicana Hotel as a singer.
8) Question: Not too long ago, Fleming was one member of a gospel vocal group known as “The Four Girls.” Who were the other members? a) Jane Russell; b) Connie Haines; c) Patty Andrews; or d) Beryl Davis.
9) Question: Fleming got her first big break by being cast in Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound. What role did she play? a) A ex-hooker; b) A nymphomaniac; c) A cleptomaniac; or d) an all-purpose maniac.
10) Question: One of Fleming’s more improbable male costars was Bob Hope. How many movies did she make with him? a) two; b) 15; c) five; or d) eight.