Flame-haired actress Patricia Owens (1.17.25 – 8.31.00) had been playing supporting roles in Hollywood films since ’43. And then in late ’56, her career suddenly caught fire. Five films of serious merit, one after another…bam, bam, bam, bam, bam.

And then, after the July ’58 release of The Fly, in which Owens played her most iconic role, that of Helen Delambre, wife of David Hedison‘s eccentric scientist André Delambre, the fire went out.

During her hot streak Owens played top-billed supporting roles in four grade-A films from major helmersRobert Rossen‘s Island in the Sun (6.12.57), Martin Ritt‘s No Down Payment (10.30.57), Joshua Logan‘s Sayonara (12.5.57, portraying Marlon Brando‘s unsettled fiance) and John SturgesThe Law and Jake Wade (6.6.58)

Then came her penultimate role in Kurt Neumann‘s The Fly (7.16.58). And then something turned, and before you knew it Owens was no longer in demand. Or at least not in the eyes of the grade-A gang.

Was it because the characters she played seemed too…I don’t know, too bland and middle-class wifey-wifey? Because she was approaching her mid 30s and, by the sexist standards of old-boy Hollywood, deemed somewhat less desirable…maybe a little too PTA-ish??

Owens kept working until the late ’60s, but the party was over. She passed from cancer at age 75. She’s very, very good in Sayonara, by the way. She’s obviously a highly skilled actress, and more than holds her own in her scenes with Brando and costar Ricardo Montalban.