From the set…Coleen Gray

On July 21st, Mark and I interviewed Coleen Gray. It was a rare privilege to interview an actor who has appeared in so many of my favorite films, including the film noir classics The Killing and Nightmare Alley as well as Red River in which she costarred with John Wayne and Montgomery Clift.

Coleen Gray with Tyrone Power in Nightmare Alley (1947)

For our documentary Monsters, Martians and Mad Scientists: Horror in the Atomic Age, Ms. Gray kindly discussed the three genre films she made during the post-nuclear era.

Her first foray into horror was 1957’s The Vampire.  She told us she had absolutely no hesitation about appearing in a horror film: “Never occurred to me. Some people say the same thing about crime pictures or westerns. It’s a part. It’s work.”

Ms. Gray also felt The Vampire was misnamed: “They should have called it The Werewolf Vampire…he changed into an animal, sort of, which was not the usual vampire visage.”

John Beal in The Vampire (1957)

Her next horror role came three years later in Universal’s The Leech Woman. Although she found the plot to be “ridiculous,”  the picture holds a special place among her films: “It was the one and only time in my career in which I got the top billing so I’m very fond of The Leech Woman.”

Coleen Gray and Grant Withers in The Leech Woman (1960)

For The Phantom Planet (1961), Ms. Gray took on the sci-fi role of Liara. She didn’t find the film or her role in it to be notableable, but she did recall one of her costars. “I remember Dolores Faith. It was her first picture and she looked a little like Elizabeth Taylor. I think they were anxious to groom her and make a star out of her. This was a vehicle for her as I understand it.”

Laura McCullough and Coleen Gray

We look forward to sharing more of Ms. Gray’s recollections with you in Monsters, Martians and Mad Scientists: Horror in the Atomic Age.

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