She did not get the part, but in 1943, at age 18, she appeared in a bit part in the film The Gang's All Here. Crain in State Fair (1945)In 1944, she starred in Home in Indiana and In the Meantime, Darling. Her acting was critically panned, but she gained nationwide attention. It resulted in landing the leading role in The Shocking Miss Pilgrim in October 1944, a musical film which was eventually shelved and made with Betty Grable. Crain first received critical acclaim when she starred in Winged Victory (1944). She co-starred in 1945 with Dana Andrews in the musical film State Fair, in which Louanne Hogan dubbed Crain's singing numbers.
After that, Crain often had singing parts in films, and they were invariably dubbed, in most cases by Hogan. Also in 1945, Crain starred in Leave Her to Heaven with Gene Tierney. In early 1947, Crain remained busy, despite her pregnancy, and was cast in both a screen adaption of Helen Hunt Jackson's Ramona and in The Glass Menagerie. Ramona was eventually canned, The Glass Menagerie was shelved and eventually made with Jane Wyman in the lead. In 1949, Crain starred in three films — A Letter to Three Wives, The Fan and Pinky, for which she was nominated for the Best Actress Oscar. Pinky was controversial, since it told the story of a light-skinned African-American woman who passes for white in the Northern United States.
Although Lena Horne and other black actresses were considered, Darryl F. Zanuck chose to cast a white actress for box-office reasons. In 1950, Crain starred opposite Myrna Loy and Clifton Webb in Cheaper by the Dozen. Next, Crain paired up with Cary Grant for the Joseph L. Mankiewicz production of the offbeat drama People Will Talk (1951).
Despite heavily campaigning for the female lead, Anne Baxter was initially cast in the part, but when she had to forfeit due to pregnancy, Crain was given the role after all. Shortly after, she starred in Charles Brackett's first film The Model and the Marriage Broker (1951). Cast in May 1951, Crain was Brackett's first choice for the role. Crain was reunited with Loy for Belles on Their Toes (1952), the sequel to Cheaper by the Dozen. While still at 20th Century Fox, Crain played a young wife quickly losing her mind amidst high-seas intrigue in Dangerous Crossing (1953), co-starring Michael Rennie. By this time, however, Marilyn Monroe was getting more fan mail than Crain or Betty Grable, both of whom saw their contracts with the studio expire. Crain then starred in a string of films for Universal Pictures, including notable pairings with Kirk Douglas including Man Without a Star (1955). Around the same time Crain showed her dancing skills in Gentlemen Marry Brunettes co-starring Jane Russell, Alan Young and Rudy Vallee.
The production was filmed on location in Paris, France. The film was based on the Anita Loos sequel to Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Gentlemen Marry Brunettes was popular throughout Europe at the time and was released in France as A Paris Pour les Quatre (To Paris for the Four), and in Belgium as Cevieren Te Parijs. Later in the 1950s, Crain, Russell and another actress formed a short-lived singing and dancing lounge act on the Strip in Las Vegas, Nevada. In 1956, Crain starred opposite Glenn Ford, Russ Tamblyn and Broderick Crawford in the Western film The Fastest Gun Alive directed by Russell Rouse.
In 1957, she played a socialite who helps a crushed singer and comedian (Frank Sinatra) redeem himself in The Joker Is Wild. In 1959, Crain appeared in a CBS special television production of Meet Me in St. Louis. Also starring in the broadcast were Loy, Walter Pidgeon, Jane Powell and Ed Wynn, with top billing going to Tab Hunter. Film roles became fewer in the 1960s as Crain went into semi-retirement.
She appeard as Nefertiti in the Italian production of Nefertiti, Queen of the Nile (1961) with Edmund Purdom and Vincent Price. During this period Crain appeared - for the second time - as one of the mystery guests on the game show What's My Line? and made several guest appearances on Burke's Law, a detective television series. She starred again with Dana Andrews in Hot Rods To Hell (1967). Her last film role was in Skyjacked (1972 Read more on Last.fm.
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