Remembering Audrey Totter

Audrey Totter was under contract to MGM from 1944 to 1951. Her specialty was playing hard edged, fast talking women in various films noir.  When the genre went out of favor, she tried to expand into other parts but had limited success. She also had a beautiful voice and did a lot of radio acting. Ms.Totter appeared on a number of television programs in the 1950s and 1960s.  As interest in her films grew due to internet exposure, Ms. Totter began receiving job offers again.  “What could I play?” she said in a 2000 interview with the Toronto Star: “A nice grandmother? Boring! Critics always said I acted best with a gun in my hand.” (LA Times obituary) Audrey Totter died on December 12, 2013 at the age of 95.

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Audrey Totter with  Robert Taylor in High Wall.

Audrey Totter and Robert Taylor did appear together in one film, High Wall, 1947.  The film was a departure for both them from their usual roles.  Mr. Taylor played a brain damaged World War II veteran who was committed to a mental institution after being accused of murdering his wife.  Ms. Totter was his psychiatrist.  At first she believes in his guilt and treats him like any other patient. Gradually things change and they become emotionally involved.

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Some scenes from High Wall, 1947

Ms. Totter was excellent as she portrayed the change from cool, reserved doctor to a woman who finds she cares very much about her patient and believes in him.  Mr. Taylor was outstanding in a challenging and difficult role.  High Wall was well reviewed and profitable but is not well known today.

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More scenes from High Wall.

Ms. Totter and Mr. Taylor worked well together and were friendly off screen. There is an anecdote, whose source I can’t find right now, that one night they had worked very late.  Neither had eaten and the commissary was closed.  Fearing there would be long waiting lines at restaurants, Mr. Taylor took Ms. Totter home and Barbara Stanwyck fed them scrambled eggs and toast.  I find it believable except for the Stanwyck cooking part, but who knows. Robert Taylor was unfailingly gracious to his leading ladies.

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The picture above (front and back) indicates that the two had a good relationship on set.

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Posters for High Wall.

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These pictures have nothing to do with the movie but were used to promote it.

Robert Taylor hugs Audrey Totter????RT8463Robert Taylor and Audrey Totter in 'High Wall'
Glamor shots.

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On the set.

Audrey Totter is remembered today by the many fans of film noir and her movies are often shown at noir festivals.

audrey_totter-05Audrey Totter 1917-2013

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About giraffe44

I became a Robert Taylor fan at the age of 15 when his TV show, "The Detectives" premiered. My mother wanted to watch it because she remembered Mr. Taylor from the thirties. I took one look and that was it. I spent the rest of my high school career watching Robert Taylor movies on late night TV, buying photos of him, making scrapbooks and being a typical teenager. College, marriage and career intervened. I remember being sad when Mr. Taylor died. I mailed two huge scrapbooks to Ursula Thiess. I hope she got them. Time passed, retirement, moving to Florida. Then in 2012 my husband Fred pointed that there were two Robert Taylor movies that evening on Turner Classic Movies--"Ivanhoe" and "Quentin Durward." I watched both and it happened all over again. I started this blog both for fans and for people who didn't know about Robert Taylor. As the blog passes 200,000 views I'm delighted that so many people have come by and hope it will help preserve the legacy of this fine actor and equally good man.
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4 Responses to Remembering Audrey Totter

  1. Kendra says:

    great post, Judith, Audrey is fabulous in High Wall, as well as in most of her noir period (The Postman Always Rings Twice, Tension, Lady in the Lake, etc.), I really enjoyed the dynamics of her character’s relationship with Taylor’s in High Wall!

  2. Mario says:

    More sad news of the Golden Hollywood era. Audrey passed away the same week that lovely Eleanor Parker did. There are no more ladies like her today, neither actress. Audrey perfomances with Bob Taylor in “High Wall” was great, wich was a very underrated movie of film noir, for a very underrated actress Audrey was too. God Bless her.

  3. giraffe44 says:

    She never did get the recognition she deserved, did she? Thanks for the comment.

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