Those two words come to mind whenever my thoughts turn to those stars who died young or relatively young, It's not the usual suspects who haunt me - James Dean, Natalie Wood, Steve McQueen, Philip Seymour Hoffman.
In that sense, she died young.
Then, there are two heartbreakers who were indeed young when they passed.
Frail and incredibly touching, Elizabeth Hartman was arguably the most promising film actress of the mid-1960s, appearing in four diverse films in the space of three years, and then she disappeared, popping up in movies and on TV only occasionally until, sadly, she went away completely.
Time moves on and we tend to forget elusive people like Elizabeth Hartman. When screen writer Gill Dennis, who was married to her from 1968 to 1984, died in 2015, Hartman was just a footnote in his obiturary.
Hartman made her film debut in Guy Green's ”A Patch of Blue,” an unusually unpleasant film about a young blind woman (Hartman) who has an almost accidental relationship with a man (Sidney Poitier) who, unknown to her, is black. Shelley Winters as her cruel mother, Wallace Ford as her cruel grandfather and Elisabeth Fraser as her mother's cruel friend make the film almost unwatchable. But the role brought Hartman an Oscar nomination as best actress. At age 22, she was the youngest person in that category at that time to be nominated for an Oscar.
A year later, Hartman was part of Sidney Lumet's impressive ensemble in his film version of Mary McCarthy's ”The Group,” playing the key role of Priss. At this early point in her film career, Hartman could do anything she desired. Hollywood wanted her.
But she responded instead to a young filmmaker named Francis Ford Coppola who needed a "name" for his New Wave comedy, "You're a Big Boy Now," although the film also featured the estimable Geraldine Page and Julie Harris (with whom Hartman was something of a kindred spirit) and another newcomer named Karen Black. The role was Barbara Darling, a go-go dancer, a vamp and a sadist. And Elizabeth Hartman, to her credit, signed on. It was the only time that Elizabeth Hartman looked glamorous in a film.
And, reportedly, Coppola was forever grateful.
Hartman then went on to do John Frankenheimer's ”The Fixer” in 1968 as part of a British ensemble that included star Alan Bates, Dirk Bogarde, Ian Holm, Hugh Griffith and Georgia Brown. Around this time, Coppola was preparing "The Rain People" and wanted Hartman for the role of Natalie Revenna, a fed-up housewife who runs away from her marriage. But Hartman, always insecure, wasn't emotionally ready for the role and Coppola had to opt for one of Hartman's co-stars from "The Group," Shirley Knight, who rewarded her director with a brilliant performance.
After taking off for a few years, Hartman returned to the screen for Don Siegel in his Clint Eastwood psychological Western, "The Beguiled" in 1971, which also features Hartman's "Boy" co-star, Geraldine Page.
It would be her last role in an important film.
Frankly, I'm not sure that even an actress of Hartman's talent and caliber could have made it memorable.
There were a few roles on television after that, very few. In terms of film, the latter part of Hartman's career included only two roles - in the original "Walking Tall" (1973), a red-neck drama starring Joe Don Baker, and, a decade later, as a voice in the animated "The Secret of NIMH" (1982), made by MGM - the studio that produced "A Patch of Blue."
Hartman went full circle, ending up where she had begun.
Before her suicide in 1987, she worked in a museum in Pittsburgh. Elizabeth Hartman died on June 10th of that year. She jumped to her death from a fifth story window. She was 44.
Inger Stevens. Yes, Inger Stevens, whose star - and sweet face - twinkled brightly but briefly from the late 1950s to 1970 when she died at age 35.
She was one of those curious stars whose troubled personal life contrasted sharply with her public persona, which was probably best defined by her role as a plucky Swedish governess opposite William Windom (and the invaluable Cathleen Nesbitt) on the popular TV series, "The Farmer's Daughter," a sitcom with a realistic edge.
During this period, Stevens reportedly had doomed affairs with most of her leading men, including Crosby, Mason and Quinn.
Like Hartman, the latter part of her career was devoted to television. On TV, she had too many thankless roles. After interrupting her screen work for the small screen, Stevens returned to films in, among others, Gene Kelly's "A Guide for the Married Man" (1967), John Guillermin's "House of Cards" (1968) and, opposite Quinn, in Daniel Mann's "A Dream of Kings" (1969), finally a role worthy of her talents. But it was too little too late.
In less than a year, the ultimately enigmatic Inger Stevens was dead - another Hollywood suicide and also a tragic missed opportunity.
Stevens worked on screen for 14 years. Fourteen years. Way too brief. She left us ... too soon.
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~photography: United Artists 1966©
~Carrie Snodgress with Richard Benjamin in a scene from "Diary of a Mad Housewife"
~photography: Universal 1970©
~Hartman with Sidney Poitier in a scene from "A Patch of Blue"
~photography: MGM 1965©
~Hartman as Barbara Darling in "You're a Big Boy Now"
~photography: Seven Arts 1966©
~photography: Seven Arts 1966©
~photography: Universal 1971©
~photography: ABC/Screen Gems Television 1963©
~photography: MGM 1957©