Chris Chase Died Oct. 31, 2013 Actress Who Turned to Writing Memoir, Biographies

Article excerpt

Chris Chase, an actress, journalist, memoirist and co-author of autobiographical books about Rosalind Russell, Josephine Baker and Betty Ford, died Oct. 31 at her home in New York City.

The cause was pancreatic cancer, her sister Linda Stein said. Honoring Ms. Chase's lifelong practice, she said, her family declined to disclose her age, but according to some sources she was 90. In the 1950s and '60s, Ms. Chase appeared on the New York stage, on television and in film under the name Irene Kane. Her most notable role was in Stanley Kubrick's 1955 noir thriller, "Killer's Kiss," as a dance-hall partner-for-hire who becomes a brutal man's obsession.

It was Ms. Chase's film debut and her only leading role in a movie.

She also performed in the 1956 off-Broadway production of "The Threepenny Opera," had a recurring part on the CBS television soap opera "Love of Life," appeared in several episodes of the ABC television series "Naked City" and played a cynical television culture critic in the 1979 film "All That Jazz," Bob Fosse's dark portrayal of show business.

Ms. Chase never achieved stardom, but she found her voice writing about what she portrayed as her "I Love Lucy"-like pursuit of it. Her wry, self-deprecating essays, many of them first published in The New York Times, became the basis of a 1974 memoir, "How to Be a Movie Star, or A Terrible Beauty Is Born."

In mock Hollywood tell-all style, Ms. Chase described competing for parts with trained dogs better dressed than she and studying scripts so awful that she could not recite a single line without laughing uncontrollably. …