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Cummins, Peggy (1925-)


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Peggy Cummins once lamented that she should have called herself Margaret, because Peggy "sounds like a girl who is strictly for light entertainment". This describes much of her output, though a handful of performances hinted at a wider range.

Born Augusta Margaret Diane Fuller, in Prestatyn, Wales, she grew up in Dublin and began her career as a child actress at the Gate Theatre. She made her film debut in Dr O' Dowd (d. Herbert Mason, 1940) but it was her London stage successes in 'Junior Miss' and 'Alice in Wonderland' that convinced Twentieth Century-Fox mogul Darryl F. Zanuck to offer her a seven year contract and the lead in Forever Amber (US, 1947). However, after shooting several scenes, she was replaced by Linda Darnell.

Recovering from this setback, she made her Hollywood debut for Joseph L. Mankiewicz in The Late George Apley (US, 1947) and returned to Britain for another Mankiewicz picture, Escape (1948). Her last American film was her finest, as an archetypal femme fatale in Joseph H. Lewis' film noir Gun Crazy (1950).

Back in Britain she played Edward G. Robinson's daughter in My Daughter Joy (d. Gregory Ratoff, 1950) and a policewoman in Street Corner (d. Muriel Box, 1953), after which she primarily played light romantic leads. More challenging roles were few and far between; the exceptions were Hell Drivers (d. Cy Endfield, 1957) and Night of the Demon (d. Jacques Tourneur, 1957). Her final role was in a 1965 episode of The Human Jungle (ITV, 1963-65).

Graham Rinaldi

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Thumbnail image of Hell Drivers (1957)Hell Drivers (1957)

Uncompromising B movie set in the macho world of ballast truck drivers

Thumbnail image of Night of the Demon (1957)Night of the Demon (1957)

Clever, subtle occult chiller by American director Jacques Tourneur

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