For the past several weeks we’ve been featuring stills from the photo collection of Marine Sgt. Norman Plemons, who during the Korean conflict wrote to film stars for photos he could take with him to the war zone.
This time Norm’s collection produced this relatively conventional studio portrait of Martha Hyer, an actress of the Forties and Fifties (who also did a ton of tv work subsequently) likely to be best remembered in Hollywood history for her long (20 years) marriage to mega-producer Hal Wallis.
Not that she wasn’t involved in the making of some interesting movies. She was seriously considered by director Alfred Hitchcock for the role that eventually went to Janet Leigh in 1960’s Psycho. As a blond, Hyer was once considered Universal studio’s answer to MGM’s Grace Kelly (aka Princess Grace).
Her performance in 1958’s Some Came Running with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine won her a best supporting actress Oscar nomination. She was known as “a second lead,” receiving next to top billing with big stars: Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn and William Holden in Billy Wilder’s 1954 romance Sabrina; with John Wayne in 1965’s The Sons of Katie Elder; and with Cary Grant and Sophia Loren in 1958’s Houseboat.
Hyer enjoyed her time in Hollywood, establishing a reputation (prior to her 1966 marriage to Wallis) as a free spending sybarite. She died last year at age 89 in Sante Fe, New Mexico.