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Rita Gam (1927 - 2016)

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Rita Gam (1927 - 2016)

Rita Gam, a veteran actress known best for her roles in the 1950s, died Tuesday in Los Angeles, according to multiple news sources. She was 88.

Gam died of respiratory failure, according to Nancy Willen, Gam's publicist.

The Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, native was born Rita McKay April 2, 1927. She later borrowed the last name of her stepfather, Benjamin Gam, as her stage name.

She started acting on Broadway and television before signing a contract with MGM studios. Her first motion picture was the noir film "The Thief" (1952), which starred Ray Milland. In 1954, she starred alongside Gregory Peck in "Night People." Gam had roles in eight other '50s movies including "Sign of the Pagan" (1954), "The Ten Commandments" (1956), "Sierra Baron" (1958), and "Wild Cats on the Beach" (1959).

On TV, Gam appeared on "The Rockford Files," which starred James Garner, and "Mannix."

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Gam's first husband was the late director Sidney Lumet; their 1949 marriage ended in divorce in 1955. A year later, she married the publisher Thomas Guinzburg, and they had two children, a daughter and a son, who survive Gam. The marriage to Guinzburg also ended in divorce.

Gam was a bridesmaid at the wedding of her close friend, Grace Kelly, to Prince Rainier III in Monaco.

In addition to her children, Gam is survived by three grandchildren.

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