Rita Gam

Intro American actress
Was Actor Film actor Stage actor Television actor
From United States of America
Type Film, Television, Stage and Radio
Gender female
Birth 2 April 1927, Pittsburgh, USA
Death 22 March 2016, Los Angeles, USA (aged 89 years)
Star sign Aries

Rita Gam (born Rita Eleanore MacKay, April 2, 1927 – March 22, 2016) was an American film and television actress and documentary filmmaker. She was nominated for a Golden Globe and won the Silver Bear for Best Actress.


Gam was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, the daughter of Belle (nėe Fately), who was born in Romania, and Milton A. MacKay, who was born in Alsace-Lorraine, to parents from Romania. Her father died in 1931, and her mother subsequently remarried, and Rita took the surname of her stepfather, Benjamin J. Gam, who was a Russian Jewish immigrant.


Gam was a model before she ventured into acting. Her acting career began on Broadway and in television, after which she moved on to films. Her Broadway credits included There's a Girl in My Soup, The Insect Comedy, A Flag is Born, and A Temporary Island. She appeared first in the 1952 film noir The Thief, which starred Ray Milland. In October 1952, she signed a long-term MGM contract. Another notable role was Herodias in 1961's King of Kings. Gam was an occasional panelist on the famous live broadcast CBS game show What's My Line as well in the 1950s and early 1960s. She shared the Silver Bear for Best Actress award with Viveca Lindfors at the 1962 Berlin Film Festival, for their performances in Tad Danielewski's No Exit. In 1963, Gam was a leading member of The Minnesota Theatre Company in the opening season of The Tyrone Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. Gam appeared in a few more American films before working in Europe. She returned to the U.S. to appear in small parts in films, including Klute in 1971, before taking up documentary film making. In 2003, she appeared in the rotating cast of the Off-Broadway stage reading of Wit & Wisdom. In 2004, she appeared in one of a series of ads for the Royal Bank of Scotland.

Personal life and death

Gam's first husband was director Sidney Lumet, whom she married in 1949. The marriage ended in divorce in 1955. In 1956, Gam was a bridesmaid at the wedding of her close friend, Grace Kelly, to Prince Rainier in Monaco. That same year, she married as well, to publisher Thomas Guinzburg. This second marriage also ended in divorce in 1963. Gam died on March 22, 2016, at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, from respiratory failure, aged 88. She was survived by a daughter and a son.


Gam was the author of two books, Actress to Actress and Actors: A Celebration

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