Friday, March 29, 2013

Faith Domergue (from my unpublished "FADEOUT: The Final Film of ..."

As Faith Dorn, Faith Domergue was put under contract by Warner Bros. in 1941 but it wasn't until she met Howard Hughes that her career really took off. Or that, at least, was what Hughes publicity claimed. In reality, Domergue, like another Hughes discovery, Jane Russell, mainly hung around performing cheesecake duties while the eccentric producer tinkered with both his high flying aeronautical ideas and how best to display her shapely features. Hughes, who had bought her contract from Warners for an impressive $50,000 (that, too, could easily be just publicity, however), finally cast her in a throwaway film, YOUNG WIDOW (1943), and that, as they say, was that. The next project, a Corsican feud melodrama, dragged on and on, Howard Hughes-style, and Domergue had plenty of time to marry bandleader "Teddy" Stauffer in January of 1946 and make endless gossip column copy. Meanwhile, VENDETTA, the Corsican movie, continued filming and re-filming and Faith blamed the strain of all this for suffering a miscarriage. Divorcing Stauffer, she then wed director Hugo Fregonese but continued to do retakes for VENDETTA, a truncated, black and white version of which finally sneaked into theaters in 1950. Severing all ties with Hughes, and, soon enough, Fregonese, Domergue went on to make her only truly memorable screen appearances in three of the best remembered horror/sci-fi thrillers of the decade: CULT OF THE COBRA (1955), THIS ISLAND EARTH ((1956) and IT CAME FROM BENEATH THE SEA (1956), in the latter two playing those seemingly competent 1950s women scientists who nevertheless prove highly inefficient in a crunch. Television guest spots and European schlock followed but hers was one "name" that belonged firmly to the 1950s. Domergue died at the age of 74 in 1999 in Santa Barbara, CA.

The final film of Faith Domergue:

THE HOUSE OF SEVEN CORPSES (1974, TCA Productions) D: Paul Harrison. CAST: John Ireland, Faith Domergue (Gayle), John Carradine, Carole Wells, Charles Macauley, Jerry Strickler, Ron Garcia. Domergue plays a catty Hollywood has-been in this "Night of the Living Dead Goes Hollywood" thriller. A movie production crew descends on a notorious mansion high in the Hollywood Hills and is met by a murderous ghoul. Old-timer John Carradine plays the cautionary caretaker but both he and Domergue are upstaged by plenty of gratuitous reading from "The Tibetan Book of the Dead."


  1. Here's a little more on this very under-appreciated actress:

  2. Here's a little more on this very under-appreciated actress: