Martha Hyer (August 10, 1924 – May 31, 2014) was an American actress best remembered for her role as Gwen French in “Some Came Running” (1958), for which she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.
Martha Hyer was born on August 10, 1924 in Fort Worth, Texas. She attended Northwestern University where she majored in drama and speech and was a member of Pi Beta Phi fraternity. Once she finished her formal schooling, Hyer landed an uncredited bit role in 1946’s “The Locket” which starred Loraine Day and Robert Mitchum. Gradually Hyer began picking up roles with more and more substance, eventually landing roles in movies such as “So Big” (1953), “Sabrina” (1954) with Humphrey Bogart, Audrey Hepburn and William Holden, “The Delicate Delinquent” in 1956 which was Jerry Lewis’ first film without Dean Martin, “Houseboat” (1958) with Cary Grant and Sophia Loren, “Ice Palace” (1960), “Desire in the Dust” (1960), “The Carpetbaggers” (1964), and “The Sons of Katie Elder” (1965). Her most significant role came as the love interest of Frank Sinatra in “Some Came Running” for director Vincente Minnelli in 1958, for which Hyer received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Hyer was also one of the actresses considered for the role of the doomed Marion Crane in the Alfred Hitchcock thriller “Psycho” which went to Janet Leigh. Her last film was “Day of the Wolves” in 1973.
Martha Hyer also appeared on several television programs such as “Rawhide”, “The Deputy”, “Playhouse 90”, “The Lone Ranger”, “Adventures of Wild Bill Hitchcock”, and “Fireside Theatre” among others. All told, Hyers appeared in over 100 movies and television programs during a career that spanned three decades.
Hyer married producer Hal B. Wallis in 1966, and the couple remained together until his death in 1986.
Martha Hyer enjoyed a quiet retirement through the 1980s and 1990s. She died on May 31, 2014, at the age of 89 from natural causes, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where she had lived for many years.
Her autobiography, ‘Finding My Way: A Hollywood Memoir’, was published in 1990.