Sunday, May 14, 2023


A fresh-faced 21-year-old Lee Remick made her motion picture debut as a luscious baton-twirling high school drum majorette in Elia Kazan’s 1957 classic, A Face in the Crowd.  Remick’s seductive rendering of a precocious but empty-headed teenybopper who quickly becomes the bride of a lecherous drifter turned media celebrity (Andy Griffith) would launch her on the path to movie stardom.

A Face in the Crowd (1957)

Because this first film role so powerfully showcased her sex appeal, she was cast in similar if only slightly more adult roles in her next films. Co-starring with Orson Welles, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, she portrayed Tony Franciosa’s flighty, flirty Southern belle wife in The Long, Hot Summer (1958). In Anatomy of a Murder (1959) she was a reckless tease married to soldier Ben Gazzara and central to the murder trial at which attorney James Stewart defended him.

Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

Lee Remick’s much-touted sensuality would prompt 20th Century Fox PR to promote her as “the American Brigitte Bardot,” but the actress resisted the label and rebelled against being typecast. The truth was that Lee was more than a sexy “honey-haired beauty." She had been acting seriously since her teens, studied at the Actors Studio, and before being cast by Kazan in her first film she had already performed on Broadway and appeared many times on most of the live drama anthologies of TV’s Golden Age. In fact, it was one of her performances in a 1956 episode of Robert Montgomery Presents that caught Elia Kazan’s attention when he was casting A Face in the Crowd.

Lee Remick and Jack Palance in "The Last Tycoon" on TV's Playhouse 90 (1957)