2021-04-29 20:32:03 UTC
May Wynn, Actress in 'The Caine Mutiny,' Dies at 93
10:31 AM PDT 4/29/2021
by Mike Barnes
She played the love interest of Robert Francis' character in the Bogart classic and appeared in four films with Jack Kelly, her first husband.
May Wynn, the 1950s starlet who had a supporting role in the acclaimed Humphrey Bogart military legal thriller The Caine Mutiny, where she adopted her character's name for her stage name, has died. She was 93.
Wynn died March 22 in Newport Beach, California, Grace Wickersham, a spokesperson for Our Lady Queen of Angels church in Newport Beach, told The Hollywood Reporter. Wynn had served as a school aide at the church for 28 years beginning in 1989.
Wynn wed actor Jack Kelly in 1956 after they appeared together in They Rode West (1954) and The Violent Men (1955), and the couple co-starred in Taming Sutton's Gal (1957) and The Hong Kong Affair (1958) before divorcing in 1964.
She also played a secretary in a veterinary hospital headed by Paul Burke and Victor Rodman on the Jack Webb-produced 1956-57 NBC series Noah's Ark.
The daughter of a vaudevillian, Donna Lee Hickey was born on Jan. 8, 1928, in New York. She started work as a showgirl at the Copacabana nightclub when she was 17, then signed with 20th Century Fox and moved to Los Angeles.
She appeared in uncredited roles in such films as Dreamboat (1952), My Wife's Best Friend (1952) and The Girl Next Door (1953) before being billed under her birth name in The Farmer Takes a Wife (1953), starring Betty Grable and Dale Robertson.
Signed by Columbia Pictures, she tested for the part of social club employee Alma/Lorene in From Here to Eternity (1953) but lost out to Donna Reed, who would win the supporting actress Oscar for her performance.
For the Edward Dmytryk-directed The Caine Mutiny (1954), Hickey was hired the play the nightclub singer May Wynn, the love interest of Ensign Willie Keith (Robert Francis). The character appears in the 1951 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel by Herman Wouk on which the film is based.
"Stanley Kramer, the producer, said there hadn't been a May on the screen since the days of May McAvoy and Mae Murray," she told the AP's Bob Thomas in 1953 interview. "He also said May was good because it couldn't be mispronounced."
Wynn reunited with Francis (who would die in a July 1955 plane crash at age 25) in They Rode West and played Glenn Ford's fiancee in The Violent Men. She then appeared in The Man Is Armed (1956), The White Squaw (1956), The Unknown Terror (1957) and on a 1960 episode of Shotgun Slade, her final onscreen credit.
Wynn, who worked in real estate after show business, was married to realtor Jack Wesley Custer from 1968 until their 1979 divorce. Survivors include a step-daughter.
Our Lady Queen of Angels gave her a surprise 90th birthday party in 2018.