Sunday, March 6, 2016

Birthday of the 50-Foot Woman

Given that her claim to cinematic fame would be the title role in the cult classic Attack of the 50-Foot Woman (1958), it's ironic that birthday girl Allison Hayes (born March 6, 1930) confessed to being self-conscious about her height. In school, as she told a Los Angeles Times columnist, "I shot up ahead of everyone else, and it embarrassed me to be so much taller than the other girls." But her lush, statuesque beauty, along with her acting skills and stage presence, won her roles in numerous films of the 1950s. Some of them, like the guilty pleasure Zombies of Mora Tau (1957), were more drive-in fodder, but she took pride in pictures such as Count Three and Pray (1956), in which she appeared alongside Van Heflin and Raymond Burr.

Unfortunately, health problems she experienced in the 1960s slowed her career progress, and she died young, of leukemia, in 1977, never having attained the full measure of fame her abilities merited. But she's still being discovered by movie watchers decades later, who sit up and take notice when Allison Hayes appears on-screen -- even when she's not playing the tallest lady in town.

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