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Peggy Cummins (1925-2017)

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https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.hollywoodreporter.com/amp/news/peggy-cummins-dead-gun-crazy-femme-fatale-was-92-1024393

Peggy Cummins, best known for “Gun Crazy,” passed away December 29 at the age of 92.

i just watched “Gun Crazy” for the first time last week. It was the first film I’d ever seen Cummins appear in.

 

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TCM's Eddie Muller spent an evening with Cummins in London on November 4. Here are two pictures of that evening, which Muller posted on Twitter.

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I can remember seeing her in "Moss Rose" where she plays the lead and in "The Late George Apley" where she had a supporting role. The first film was a good performance in a better than average film, the second was in a terrific film, and it is hard to judge her performance because Ronald Colman really is the whole show. She will probably always be remembered for "Gun Crazy", though.

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Peggy Cummins was dazzling in "Moss Rose" with Victor Mature and Ethel Barrymore.

She could have been a big star in this country.

RIP, Miss Cummins.

Moss-Rose-2.jpg

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She struck me as a gutsy lady, although that could have just been the characters she portrayed. Lovely gal. RIP

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Noooo!!!!! This is terrible! I loved her so much in Gun Crazy which has become one of my favorite film noirs and movies in general! I think she was one of the Top 10 best femme fetales in film! The studio totally failed her by not seeing her potential. RIP Peggy.

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A remembrance of Peggy Cummins                                                                                                                  By Eddie Muller (via Facebook)

"Irish-born actress Peggy Cummins, known to film noir fans worldwide for her unforgettable performance as sharpshooting sociopath Annie Laurie Starr in GUN CRAZY, died on December 29, 2017, eleven days after her 92nd birthday. She had earlier that month suffered a massive stroke, according to her son, David Dunnett. In recent years Peggy had enjoyed a public re-emergence, often appearing at revivals of her films, with GUN CRAZY always the touchstone.

During the past five years Peggy and I enjoyed a globetrotting friendship, appearing together at events in Hollywood, San Francisco, Kansas City, Lyon, and Zagreb. We were first introduced by Robert Osborne at the 2012 TCM Classic Film Festival, where he graciously allowed me to interview her prior to a full-house screening of GUN CRAZY. In Lyon, I introduced Quentin Tarantino to Peggy and he playfully prostrated himself in admiration before the star of one of his favorite movies. As a group of us slumped into a shuttle at 4 am after carousing through the opening night festivities—there was Peggy, chatting up the driver, learning all about his family. Wherever she went, Peggy charmed people with her dry, sparkling wit and down-to-earth warmth, of which she'd simply say, "I'm Irish, you know—I get on with people!"

Although born in Wales, Peggy spent her youth in Dublin, daughter of an architect and an actress (Margaret Cummins [nee Tracy] can be seen in the 1949 Columbia noir SIGN OF THE RAM). After being "discovered" waiting at a bus stop, she was accepted to Dublin’s Gate Theatre and by the age of 13 was appearing regularly onstage and in films. In 1945, at 19 years of age, she was "discovered" again, this time as the winner of a 20th Century-Fox talent search for an actress to star in the studio's grandiose production of FOREVER AMBER. After several weeks shooting, however, studio boss Darryl Zanuck replaced his discovery, claiming, after viewing rushes, that Peggy was too young ("Not sexy enough," sniffed Peggy) to portray a wastrel sleeping her way to the top of British society. Linda Darnell was cast instead. As recently as this past November, Cummins recalled the humiliation of her firing as "heartbreaking. I was devastated."

She regrouped in Fox productions such as MOSS ROSE (1947), THE LATE GEORGE APLEY (1947), ESCAPE (1948), and GREEN GRASS OF WYOMING (1948)—but in the wake of the AMBER incident her love affair with Hollywood was over. She returned to England, spurning a host of American suitors (including young Sen. John F. Kennedy), to become the fiancé of affluent seed magnate William Herbert Derek Dunnett, whom she married in 1950.

It was her 11th hour casting in GUN CRAZY and a rushed return to America that would provide her lasting cinema legacy. Only weeks before the start of shooting, agent Charles Feldman (who didn’t even represent Cummins) suggested her to producer Frank King, who was desperate to find a "delicate" actress who could withstand the rigors of his rough-and-tumble production. Peggy threw herself into the part, recognizing it as her farewell to Hollywood filmmaking. She imbued Annie Laurie Starr with a complex and seething mixture of venom and vulnerability, sweetness and sexiness—creating both a singular character and a larger-than-life archetype. She’d make another 15 movies, all in England—including terrific ones like HELL DRIVERS (1957) and NIGHT OF THE DEMON (1957)—but nothing would come close to recapturing the fire she’d shown in GUN CRAZY. She'd retire from acting in 1961. Peggy and Derek Dunnett remained married until his death in 2000. They had two children, David and Diana.

Although she loved the attention GUN CRAZY sustained for her—she called her rapturous appearance at Noir City in San Francisco in 2013, "One of the highlights of my life"—she appreciated even more the opportunity to travel and meet new people. She was adept at playing the star when the lights went on, but was even better displaying her uncanny common touch with folks who had no clue about her movie career. To every person she encountered, Peggy instantly became the highlight of their day.

Despite her advanced age, news of Peggy's stroke was a shock; my wife Kathleen and I had spent two marvelous days with her in London this past November, and we’d parted with every expectation of reuniting on the festival circuit in 2018, to further celebrate the ever-expanding thrall GUN CRAZY casts over viewers worldwide. Peggy's energy and vivacity was almost comical as she led us on excursions through the Victoria & Albert Museum, a nearby cathedral, and a shopping spree at famed Harrod’s department store. Our last glimpse of the indefatigable Ms. Cummins was her bounding onto a Brompton Road lorry and amiably chatting up the busman.

Farewell, dear Peggy. You made an indelible impression in the cinema—and my life."

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Sorry to hear this. Am glad she received some recognition late in her life when Gun Crazy was reissued.

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I always feel kind of extra sad for some reason when someone I didn't even know was still alive passes away. Maybe TCM will schedule an evening of her movies at some point. I pretty much only know her from Gun Crazy, like a lot of you, probably. She's certainly great in that movie. I saw The Late George Apley, I think when Ronald Colman was Star of the Month, but I honestly I don't remember much about her performance in it. Not sure I made the connection at the time that it was the same actress from Gun Crazy.

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She looks great in those photos, (though I wouldnt recognize her from her 40s days)....

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Another legend gone but hopefully not forgotten.

She was excellent as the beautiful but insane sharp shooter in "Gun Crazy"

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