A charming but often miscast leading actress, with a tough style reminiscent of Barbara Stanwyck, Lola Albright was shown at her best in “A Cold Wind in August” (1961). She won the Best Actress award at the 1966 Berlin Film Festival for her performance in “Lord Love a Duck” as Tuesday Weld’s mother who turns suicidal when she thinks she has ruined her daughter’s life. Albright was also known to TV viewers as Edie Hart, the girlfriend of Craig Stevens’ “Peter Gunn” (NBC, 1958-60; ABC 1960-61).
Albright was a switchboard operator, stenographer and photographer’s model while doing bit dramatic roles to learn her craft. She made her film debut with a small part in “The Pirate” (1948), with Judy Garland and Gene Kelly. She was seen with Garland and Fred Astaire in “Easter Parade” (also 1948) but won her first real notices as the wife of a boxing match manipulator who becomes involved with a fighter (Kirk Douglas) in “Champion” (1948). Some of her roles were unchallenging, such as in “The Tender Trap” (1955), where Albright was merely one of the women in Frank Sinatra’s life. Yet, for all the programmers, there were shots such as “A Cold Wind in August,” in which Albright again won critical acclaim, this time for playing an aging stripper. Albright’s film career petered out around 1968, the year she played David Niven’s wife and the mother of a nubile teen-age daughter in “The Impossible Years.”
Unlike other film actors who were slow to take the plunge into TV, Albright was actively working in the medium from 1951, when she guest-starred in two episodes of “Lux Video Theatre.” Throughout the 50s, she appeared made numerous guest appearances, including several during the 1955-56 TV season as a love interest on “The Bob Cummings Show.” Albright was on “Peter Gunn” for its entire three-season run and, in 1965, replaced an ailing Dorothy Malone for part of the season on “Peyton Place” (ABC). She continued appearing on episodics, particularly those of Universal TV, into the early 80s. She never really clicked in TV-movies, appearing in only three: the thrillers “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” (NBC, 1967) and “Terraces” (NBC, 1977) and the melodramatic “Delta County, U.S.A.” (ABC, 1977).
Anyone who knows me are aware that I am a bit of a movie buff. Over the past few years I have been collecting signed photographs of my favourite actors.
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