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Alexis Smith

With her blue/green eyes and a seductively husky voice, she lent a touch of class to her leading ladies of the 1940s and 1950s.

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Alice in Movieland

Lady with Red Hair

She Couldn’t Say No



Flight from Destiny

The Great Mr. Nobody

Here Comes Happiness

Affectionately Yours

Singapore Woman

Three Sons o’ Guns

Passage from Hong Kong

The Smiling Ghost

Steel Against the Sky

Dive Bomber



Gentleman Jim



The Constant Nymph

Thank Your Lucky Stars



The Adventures of Mark Twain

The Doughgirls



The Horn Blows at Midnight

San Antonio


Rhapsody in Blue



One More Tomorrow

Night and Day

Of Human Bondage



Stallion Road

The Two Mrs. Carrolls




The Woman in White

The Decision of Christopher Blake



One Last Fling

South of St. Louis

Any Number Can Play



Undercover Girl


Wyoming Mail



Cave of Outlaws

Here Comes the Groom



The Turning Point






The Sleeping Tiger



The Eternal Sea



Beau James



This Happy Feeling



The Young Philadelphians



Jacqueline Susann’s Once Is Not Enough



The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane



Casey’s Shadow



The Trout (aka La Truite)



Tough Guys



The Age of Innocence


Alexis Smith was never nominated for an Academy Award.

[About her first decade in films] In those days I was fresh out of school and delighted to be a movie star. Films were pretty much escapist entertainment, as opposed to the realism you see on screen today. Besides I was pretty much a utility girl at Warners. Anything Ann Sheridan or Ida Lupino or Jane Wyman didn’t want to do, I sort of fell heir to. You know people frequently feel it was a shame Warner typecast me, but I don’t believe that. I believe I typecast myself. I wasn’t creative. Certain creative people – John Garfield, Bette Davis, Olivia de Havilland – didn’t allow Warners to do that to them. So I don’t blame the studio at all. ~ Alexis Smith

Margaret Alexis Smith was born June 8, 1921 in Penticton, British Columbia, to Gladys Mabel Fitz-Simmons (a Canadian) and Alexander Smith (a Scot), her family relocated to Los Angeles when she was about a year old. Her parents both became naturalized citizens in 1939, through which she derived her United States citizenship. Smith grew up in Los Angeles, attending Hollywood High School. When she was 13 she made her professional debut, performing ballet at the Hollywood Bowl. She was discovered in 1940 at Los Angeles City College, acting in a school production, by a Warner Brothers’ talent scout and was signed to a contract. Her earliest film roles were uncredited bit parts, and it took several years for her career to gain momentum. Her first credited role was in the feature film Dive Bomber (1941), playing the female lead opposite Errol Flynn. Her appearance in The Constant Nymph (1943) was well received and led to bigger parts.

During the 1940s, Smith appeared alongside some of the most popular male stars of the day, including Errol Flynn in Gentleman Jim (1942) and San Antonio (1945), Fredric March in The Adventures of Mark Twain (1944), Humphrey Bogart in Conflict (1945) and The Two Mrs. Carrolls (1947), Cary Grant in a sanitized, fictionalized version of the life of Cole and Linda Porter in Night and Day (1946), and Bing Crosby in Here Comes the Groom (1951), her favorite role.

Among Smith’s other films are Rhapsody In Blue (1945), Of Human Bondage (1946), and The Young Philadelphians (1959).

While Smith was under contract at Warner Bros., she met fellow actor Craig Stevens; they wed in 1944. In her later years, Smith toured in several stage hits including the 1955 National company of Plain and Fancy, co-starring with her husband in Jean Kerr’s Mary, Mary and Cactus Flower.

Smith appeared on the cover of the May 3, 1971, issue of Time as the result of the critical acclaim for her singing and dancing role in Hal Prince’s Broadway production of Stephen Sondheim’s Follies, which marked her long-awaited Broadway debut. In 1972, she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance.

Her stage career continued through the 1970s, with appearances in the 1973 all-star revival of The Women (1973), the short-lived re-working of William Inge’s drama Picnic, re-titled Summer Brave (1975), and the ill-fated musical Platinum (1978), which earned Smith another Tony nomination for her performance but closed after a brief run. She then toured for more than a year as the madam in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, including a seven-month run in Los Angeles.

Smith returned to the big screen with star billing at the age of 54 in Jacqueline Susann’s Once Is Not Enough (1975) opposite Kirk Douglas, followed by The Little Girl Who Lives Down the Lane with Martin Sheen and Jodie Foster the following year and Casey’s Shadow with Walter Matthau in 1978. One of her final film roles came in 1986, again with Douglas when he reunited with frequent co-star Burt Lancaster for a 1986 crime comedy, Tough Guys. Smith had a recurring role on the television series Dallas as Clayton Farlow’s mentally unstable sister, Lady Jessica Montford in 1984, and again in 1990. She also starred in the short-lived 1988 series Hothouse, and was nominated for an Emmy Award for her guest appearance on Cheers in 1990.

Alexis Smith died of brain cancer in Los Angeles on June 9, 1993, the day after her 72nd birthday. She had no children and her sole survivor was her husband of 49 years, actor Craig Stevens. Smith’s final film, The Age of Innocence (1993), was released shortly after her death. Her body was cremated and her ashes were scattered over the Pacific Ocean.

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