Actress Suzanna Leigh Dies At 72

Actress Suzanna Leigh Dies At 72 Promo Image

Actress Suzanna Leigh, who co-starred alongside Elvis Presley in the 1966 movie, "Paradise, Hawaiian Style," has died at the age of 72.

Suzanna Leigh's agent, Melanie Novy, confirmed that she have had died in Winter Garden, Florida, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Suzanna Leigh had been battling stage 4 liver cancer since 2016.

Suzanna Leigh's daughter, Natalia Leigh, posted to Facebook on Dec. 12 to share the news that her mother had died.

"Her beauty was breathtaking and her wit, class, and heart were unmeasurable. Her name was Suzanna Leigh and this incredible woman with strength and fabulousness was my Mum," wrote Natalia Leigh.

"I lost her today. My warrior and my heart died at 5:30PM, on her terms. It was time for JESUS to take her home," she continued. "The world will forever be a little less light & magical. And my life has now and will be forever changed. I personally died a little today as she was my everything and I will never be the same."

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Suzanna Leigh was born Sandra Eileen Anne Smyth in 1945, in Berkshire, England. She began to go by the name of Leigh after she learned that Vivien Leigh, the actress known for her role in "Gone With The Wind," was her godmother.

"She said she had known my father, though she had been to hundreds of christenings and didn't remember mine," said Suzanna Leigh in 1999. "It was about 15 years after she'd done 'Gone With The Wind,' and she was stunning, beautiful and slender with dark hair. She said she didn't mind a bit if I used her name."

She went on to have a notable career as a film actress. Before she appeared alongside Elvis, she played a stewardess in "Boeing, Boeing" in 1965 alongside Jerry Lewis and Tony Curtis.

Producer Hal Willis then cast her in 1966's musical comedy "Paradise, Hawaiian Style," which became her most well-known role. She played opposite Elvis, with whom she shared an onscreen kiss.

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"His kisses held an intensity that melted my very being," wrote the actress in her 2003 autobiography, "Paradise, Suzanna Style."

"I slipped my arms around his neck and our bodies entwined. This was all madness, but we didn't stop," she wrote. "A person could go to the gallows with such a kiss lingering on their lips, knowing life had been good."

The actress said she had been a fan of Elvis' work before she began filming with him.

"Elvis and I were both under contract to Hal Wallis, who was known as the star maker," recalled Suzanna Leigh. "I remember the day that Hal said that I would be making my next movie with Elvis. I was an incredible fan of his, and then he said you'll be filming it in Hawaii. Wow. Elvis was a fabulous actor, very underrated by a lot of the conventional theater people."

After that role, Suzanna Leigh went on to appear in a number of horror movies, including "The Lost Continent" and "Lust For A Vampire."

She also starred in the 1974 musical comedy "Son Of Dracula" with Beatles member Ringo Starr, reports Legacy.com.

She met Tim Hue-Williams, the father of Natalia, in 1972, but the pair later split, according to the Express. She worked a number of jobs while raising her daughter on her own, and eventually relocated from New York to Memphis, saying she "fell in love" with the city after she was a guest at the 1998 Memphis Film Festival.

In her autobiography, Suzanna Leigh wrote that she had no regrets, according to the Commercial Appeal.

"My life was a roller-coaster through wonder-land," wrote the actress.

Sources: The Hollywood Reporter, Suzanna Leigh/Facebook, Legacy.com, Express, Commercial Appeal / Featured Image: Allan Warren/Wikimedia Commons / Embedded Images: Suzanna Leigh/Facebook, Allan Warren/Wikimedia Commons

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