“I never dreamed of becoming an actress or a movie star. As a young girl I won two scholarships to the prestigious Chicago Art Institute where I hoped one day to become a great artist. Working as a model during junior college, I traveled to Hollywood on summer vacation where I was discovered by an agent and signed to Columbia Pictures.
In 1956 I became the No. 1 box office star in the world for three years, starring opposite actors such as Jimmy Stewart, William Holden and Frank Sinatra, and working with Directors like Alfred Hitchcock. My most famous film was Hitchcock’s “Vertigo,” which is considered by many to be the greatest movie ever made. “Picnic” and “Bell, Book and Candle” were two of my favorites.
It is so rewarding to know that my film work is receiving more acclaim with the passage of time. Although I have never received an Oscar, I was given a Golden Globe and have been honored with the prestigious Golden Bear Award for Lifetime Achievement. In 2003 I was presented with the Eastman Kodak Archives Award for my contribution to film – preceded by honorees Greta Garbo, Jimmy Stewart, Audrey Hepburn, Martin Scorsese and Meryl Streep.
At the height of my film career I decided to walk away from Hollywood – not wanting to fall prey to the tragic endings that often result when stars and sex symbols get lost in an identity crisis. I turned my back on a successful and lucrative career to define who I was and what I really wanted to give and get out of life. I moved to a cliffside dwelling along the wild coast of Big Sur, California with the purpose of creating a lifestyle in harmony with nature while combining it with my love of painting and writing poetry. I remember how pleased I was when one of my poems was made into a song and recorded by the Kingston Trio and Harry Belafonte.
I married twice, first to a Shakespearean actor from England after we fell in love while filming “The Amorous Adventures of Moll Flanders,” and then again to my soul mate, equine veterinarian Robert Malloy. We now live with our dogs and horses in Southern Oregon. When not off riding in the hills and valleys, I am off painting the hills and valleys.
My first dream has never changed. I feel so grateful for the perspective I gained while experiencing the art of “make believe” in Hollywood, and then returning to my first goal to refine my talent and paint my feeling. Over these years I have had the opportunity to study with many fine artists. I have been particularly blessed to receive the wisdom and influence of my two great and irreplaceable mentors, Harley Brown and Richard McKinley. Now I feel ready to share some of the results of these past years. My only limitations are the boundaries of my imagination. I hope always to be able to stretch my mind as I exercise my body so that I will can keep growing my dreams and expressing my fantasies.
I’ve lived a long rich life, and the wonders of Nature have allowed my eyes to retain their innocence to experience things for the first time. There is so much of life that still touches me profoundly, and if I can touch someone else along the way, in my own way, I can’t imagine any better reward!”