Remembering Rita Gam on her birth anniversary today.615 views
Birthday remembrance Rita Gam (April 2, 1927 – March 22, 2016) was an American film and television actress and documentary filmmaker. She was nominated for a Golden Globe and won the Silver Bear for Best Actress.
Gam was born Rita MacKay in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Belle (Fately), who was born in Romania, and Milton A. MacKay, who was born in Alsace-Lorraine, to parents from Romania. She took on the surname of her stepfather, Russian-born Benjamin Gam. Gam was raised in New York City.
Gam’s acting career began on Broadway and in television, after which she moved on to films. She appeared first in the 1952 film noir The Thief, which starred Ray Milland. In October 1952, she signed a long-term MGM contract. Another notable role was Herodias in 1961’s King of Kings.
She shared the Silver Bear for Best Actress award with Viveca Lindfors at the 1962 Berlin Film Festival, for their performances in Tad Danielewski’s No Exit.
In 1963, Gam was a leading member of The Minnesota Theatre Company in the opening season of The Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Gam appeared in a few more American films before working in Europe. She returned to the U.S. to appear in small parts in films, including Klute in 1971, before taking up documentary film making.
In 2003, she appeared in the rotating cast of the Off-Broadway stage reading of Wit & Wisdom. In 2004, she appeared in one of a series of ads for the Royal Bank of Scotland.
Gam’s first husband was director Sidney Lumet. The marriage ended in divorce, and Lumet married socialite Gloria Vanderbilt. In 1956 she married publisher Thomas Guinzburg. This marriage also ended in divorce. She was a bridesmaid at the wedding of her close friend, Grace Kelly, to Prince Rainier in Monaco.
Gam died on March 22, 2016 at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from respiratory failure, aged 88.