Hollywood film, television, and musical star Sally Forrest died at her home in Beverly Hills, California, on March 15 from a long battle with cancer. Forrest was 86-years-old at the time of her death and was preceded in death by her husband Milo O. Frank Jr. Frank passed away in 2004.
Sally Forrest was born Katherine Feeney on May 28, 1928 in San Diego, California. Forrest’s parents were amateur ballroom dancers, so she was exposed to the entertainment business early on in her life. The New York Times reports that Forrest began to study dance at a very early age, and then was signed to a Hollywood contract by movie giants MGM shortly after graduating from high school.
Forrest’s film career would start when she took roles as a chorus dancer in several MGM musicals that were produced during the 1940s. Sally’s major break would come in 1949 when she was cast to play in the movie Not Wanted, which was produced by Ida Lupino. Sally starred as an unwed mother in the film, which was a topic that Hollywood rarely explored during those years.
The performance in Not Wanted and her moving portrayal of a dancer on her way to stardom who contracts polio and becomes paralyzed in the film Never Fear led Hollywood reporter Hedda Hopper to name Forrest “Star of the Year.”
A majority of the projects Sally worked on were for the family entertainment giant MGM. The company had a reputation for providing clean and entertaining films for the whole family. That it was in stark contrast to film giant RKO, run by millionaire and business tycoon Howard Hughes. Forrest had a role in the Hughes film and cult classic Son of Sinbad, but the role presented Sally with a slew of problems from the beginning. Hughes was known to be quite eccentric, and at times extremely difficult to work with on set.
In 1953, Forrest moved to New York City with her husband, writer and producer Milo Frank, so that he could take a position as head of casting for CBS. Sally’s work would slowly transition from movies into television, where she appeared in programs such as Rawhide, Climax!, The Dinah Shore Show, and The Ed Sullivan Show.
The Broadway production of The Seven Year Itch would give Sally her next project, when she took over the role that famous icon Marilyn Monroe portrayed in the movie version of the popular musical. Forrest returned to Hollywood following her time on Broadway to work for RKO and Columbia Pictures.
Sally Forrest had no children but is survived by her niece, Sharon, and by nephews Michael and Mark.
[Photo courtesy of Everett Collection]