Actress Mildred Shay dead at 94

Oct. 24, 2005 at 8:49 PM
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LOS ANGELES, Oct. 24 (UPI) -- "Hollywood's Pocket Venus" Mildred Shay has died at her daughter's home in Glendale, Calif., at age 94.

The British resident who appeared in more than 30 films during the 1930s but was better known for her Hollywood scandals and escapades, recently suffered a stroke, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday. She died Oct. 15.

Columnist Walter Winchell nicknamed the 5-foot-2 actress "Hollywood's Pocket Venus" for her alleged casting couch adventures and affairs with some of movies' top stars.

"There was someone propositioning me" every time she turned around, the Times quoted her as once saying.

She was said to have fought off the advances of actors Errol Flynn and Johnny Weissmuller. Filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille reportedly fed her oysters with pearls still attached and her affair with Victor Mature made headlines.

Shay had a number of small roles throughout her Hollywood career and dubbed Greta Garbo's voice in the 1932 Oscar-winning "Grand Hotel." She working in British TV in the 1970s and in 1977 danced a tango with Rudolf Nureyev in the film "Valentino."

After two failed marriages, she married British Army Capt. Geoffrey Steele in 1941 and their union lasted more than 45 years.

Shay is survived by her daughter, Georgiana Steele.

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