NEW YORK — Peggy Cummins, a Welsh-born stage and film actress who worked just a few years in Hollywood but left behind an indelible performance as the lethal, beret-wearing robber in the noir classic “Gun Crazy,” has died at age 92.
Cummins, who retired from acting in the early 1960s, died Friday in London. Her friend Dee Kirkwood said she died of a stroke.
A child star in England, Cummins was not yet 20 when brought to the United States in 1945 by studio boss Darryl F. Zanuck to play the title role in an adaptation of one of the decade’s raciest novels, “Forever Amber.” The petite blonde was passed over in favor of Linda Darnell, allegedly because she was too young, but Cummins was most certainly of age for “Gun Crazy,” which came out in 1950.
Cummins made just a handful of American movies, including “Escape” and “The Late George Apley,” before returning to England in 1950. She did briefly date then-aspiring politician John F. Kennedy and was asked out by Howard Hughes, only to have the wealthy aviator crash his plane and cancel their dinner plans. Back in England, she married William Herbert Derek Dunnett and remained with him until his death in 2000. They had two children.
Born Augusta Margaret Diane Fuller in Wales and raised in Dublin, she was the daughter of actress Margaret Cummins. By age 12, Peggy Cummins had starred in a stage production of “Alice in Wonderland” and by 15 had appeared in her first film, “Dr. O’Dowd.”