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Leigh Snowden
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Actress
    (June 23, 1929-May 16, 1982)
    Born in Covington, Tennessee
    1950s Hollywood sex symbol
    Birth name was Martha Lee Estes
    Gained fame for appearing in a series of Jack Benny TV specials
    Best known as the star of several Universal B-horror movies
    Acted in 'All That Heaven Allows,' 'The Square Jungle,' 'The Creature Walks Among Us,' 'I've Lived Before,' 'Hot Rod Rumble,' and 'The Comancheros'
    She worked with Francis the Talking Mule.
    She admitted that her acting abilities were poor.
    She was one of several Universal blondes marketed as 'the next Marilyn Monroe.'
    She left the children from her first marriage with her mother in Tennessee when she moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting.
    The newspaper headline following her discovery, at Jack Benny's Christmas special at the San Diego Naval Base, read 'Sailors Whistles Blow Blond Into Film Studio!'
    Her contract was dropped in 1956 when she went against the studio's wishes by marrying Dick Contino, who had been jailed years earlier for going AWOL.
    She retired from acting to be a housewife, but she despised housework (though she loved cooking).
    Google searches for her name tend to turn up content related to the NSA whistleblower accused of treason with the same last name.
    She had an operatically trained singing voice.
    Her father died in a mysterious river boat accident on Christmas Day (she was only 3).
    She was lifelong friends with her roommate, Gomer Pyle's Barbara Stuart.
    She was the final leading lady to play opposite 'the Gill-Man' in the 'Creature' franchise.
    Unlike other 'Marilyn clones,' she did resemble the actress very closely, even without makeup.
    She said 'I knew I was no Katharine Cornell, so I just chose my studio like I'd choose a college. I figured I had lots to learn and U-I was the best teacher.'
    She won acclaim as Maggie in a Fresno Community Theater production of 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof,' even winning a local theater award (1976).
    She had invasive surgery to remove a malignant melanoma growth, but the cancer returned, nine years later, and she died shortly thereafter (May 1982).
    She was similar to Barbara Ruick in that she had a promising career which went nowhere, eventually dying in obscurity.
    She was named in Mamie Van Doren's autobiography among the tragic blonde sex symbols who would not live to see 55.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair


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