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Oscar nom’ed beauty MARTHA HYER who starred in “First Men In the Moon” and “Bikini Beach” has died at 89.
Hyer who was nominated for an Oscar for her role in “Some Came Running” 1958 with Frank Sinatra died in her Santa Fe, New Mexico home May 31. Her passing was first reported by the New Mexican newspaper.
Hyper began her film career at RKO appearing in such “B” pictures as “Abbott & Costello Go to Mars” and "Riders to the Stars" in the early 1950s.
But when Billy Wilder cast her in “Sabrina” as William Holden’s debutante GF filmmakers and auds took notice.
"Some Came Running" was one of Hyer’s better mainstream perfs as small-town schoolteacher Gwen French in director Vincent Minnelli's adaptation of the James Jones novel earning her an Oscar nom for best actress
Martha played opposite the top male stars of the day including Rock Hudson, David Niven, Jerry Lewis, Vincent Price, John Wayne and Francis the Talking Mule.
In the early 1960s Hyer made cinematic history by going to the moon in SFX master Ray Harryhausen’s delightful widescreen adaptation of the HG Wells’ classic “First Men IN the Moon”. A period piece of the Victorian era, Martha not only beat the Russians to the moon but NASA as well.
Hyer also made hit the beach with Frankie Avalon & Annette Funicello in “Bikini Beach” playing opposite both Keenan Wynn and Clyde the Chimp. The raucous AIP beach party flick has been in constant rotation across American TV screens for the past 50 years.
Her 2nd marriage was to top Hollywood producer Hal B. Wallis lasted until his death in 1986.
The New Mexican reported she became reclusive after Wallis’s death finding joy in painting and walking the desolate landscape of New Mexico.
Au revoir, Martha.