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Peggy Cummins, star of noir classic "Gun Crazy," dead at 92

Jan. 2, 2018 at 10:05 p.m.

FILE - In this Dec. 26, 1945, file photo, actress Peggy Cummins, 20, smiles in Superior Court, in Los Angeles, after her contract with Twentieth Century-Fox Studio had been approved. Cummins, who gave an indelible performance as the lethal, beret-wearing robber in the noir classic "Gun Crazy," has died. Cummins, who retired from acting in the early 1960s, died Friday, Dec. 29, 2017, in London at age 92.  (AP Photo/File)

NEW YORK (AP) — 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 at age 92. 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.

The low-budget "Gun Crazy" was directed by Joseph H. Lewis and secretly co-written by the blacklisted Dalton Trumbo, who devised a tale of sex and violence and of love destroyed by greed.

Cummins played Annie Laurie Starr, a sharpshooter in a traveling carnival who hooks up with a local marksman, Bart Tare, played by John Dall.

The film's erotic energy and documentary style eventually made it a cult favorite.

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