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Last Updated: Monday, 15 December, 2003, 11:03 GMT
Hollywood film actress Crain dies
Jeanne Crain
Jeanne Crain was spotted in a beauty contest
Hollywood actress Jeanne Crain, who was nominated for an Oscar in 1950, has died at her home in California aged 78.

Crain appeared in a string of films during the 1940s and 50s. The lead role in the controversial 1949 film Pinky landed her an Oscar nomination.

The movie told the love story of a young black woman from the southern US who had passed off for white while studying in the north.

Crain appeared opposite Frank Sinatra and Kirk Douglas during her career.

Her son, Paul Brinkman Jr, said she died of a heart attack at her Santa Monica home on Sunday.


She became a Hollywood icon during the war and post-war period, appearing in the movies The Gang's All Here, Home in Indiana and Winged Victory.

It was the film Pinky, directed by the late Elia Kazan, which brought Crain's only Oscar recognition for best actress.

It was considered a daring move at a time when the movie industry tended to steer clear of racial subjects.

Jeanne Crain and Paul Brinkman
Jeanne and husband Paul Brinkman had seven children
In the film Crain played a black woman who pretended to be white.

Although a number of black actresses, including Lena Horne, wanted the part studio bosses opted to use a white star in the role.

"I grew up without knowing anything about prejudice; my mother saw to that," Crain said in 1995.

Ranch retirement

"If parents would keep prejudice and intolerance to themselves for one generation, we would have a different world."

Born in Barstow, California, she and her family moved to Los Angeles when she was a young child.

She was spotted in a beauty contest in 1945 and given a studio contract by 20th Century Fox.

Crain married actor businessman Paul Brinkman, and they went on to have seven children together.

After leaving 20th Century Fox, the actress worked on films with Frank Sinatra (The Joker is Wild), Alan Ladd (Guns of the Timberland) and Glenn Ford (The Fastest Gun Alive).

She retired from acting in the 1960s, spending time working at the two ranches she owned with her husband.

Hollywood director Kazan dies
29 Sep 03  |  Film

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