LOS ANGELES -- Leigh Snowden, who gave up her acting career to marry accordionist Dick Contino just as she was beginning to establish a reputation as a glamour queen, died Sunday of cancer. She was 51.
Miss Snowden became an overnight success after a walk-on part on the old Jack Benny television show. Within a few days she had been signed to a contract with Universal International, which cast her in a series of thrillers designed to feature her beauty and figure.
Such films as 'Kiss Me Deadly,' 'All that Heaven Allows,' 'Francis in the Navy,' 'Rawhide Years,' and 'The Creature Walks Among Us' proved commercial if not artistic successes and she was beginning to establish a reputation as a glamour queen when she and Contino met.
In a recent interview with the Los Angeles Times, Contino credited his wife, whom he married in 1956, with helping him through periods of depression that followed the near-demise of his career after he disappeared rather than face induction into the military.
'They were building her as the next Marilyn Monroe. She looked fantastic,' said Contino who served two years in prison for draft evasion.