Vanessa Brown, the actress who starred in The Seven Year Itch on Broadway, died May 21 at the Motion Picture Country Home in Los Angeles, the New York Times reported. She was 71.
Ms. Brown had been in the United States only a brief time after leaving her native Europe in the 1930s when she was offered the role a girl with an Austrian accent in Lillian Hellman's Watch On the Rhine. She understudied Ann Blyth and later went on in the role.
She appeared in a national tour of As You Like It with Katharine Hepburn and played the sexy girl upstairs in the comedy, The Seven Year Itch, opposite Tom Ewell. Marilyn Monroe made the role popular in the film version.
Ms. Brown was born Smylla Brind in Vienna and came to New York with her parents, fleeing the Nazis. She was a bright girl who appeared on the radio program "Quiz Kids." She reportedly had an I.Q. of 165. In her later career, after making such films as "Youth Runs Wild," "Tarzan and the Slave Girl," "The Heiress" and "The Ghost and Mrs. Muir," she became a political writer and supporter of the Democratic party, participating in the campaigns of Adlai Stevenson and John F. Kennedy.
The cause of death was cancer. She is survived by a son, David, and a daughter, Cathy, of Los Angeles. -- By Kenneth Jones