Where Film Noir Lives...Too!
|“||The bad girls were so much fun to play. I wouldn't have wanted to play Coleen's good-girl parts.||”|
—Totter in August 1999
She made her film debut in Main Street After Dark (1945) and during the 1940s established herself as a popular female lead. Although she appeared in various film genres, she became most widely known to movie audiences in film noir productions. Initially MGM paired her opposite some of their biggest stars.
Among her successes were:
By the early 1950s, the tough-talking "dames" she was best known for portraying were no longer fashionable, and as MGM began to work towards creating more family-themed films,Totter was released from her contract. She reportedly was dissatisfied with her MGM career, only agreeing to appear in Any Number Can Play after Gable intervened. She worked for Columbia Pictures and 20th Century Fox, for example, FBI Girl (1951), but the quality of her films dropped, and by the end of the 1950s, her career was in decline.
In 1954, she appeared in the pilot episode of the later 1957-1958 detective series, Meet McGraw with Frank Lovejoy. She appeared with Joseph Cotten and William Hopper in the 1957 episode "The Case of the Jealous Bomber" of NBC's anthology series, The Joseph Cotten Show. In 1958, she played boarding house owner Beth Purcell in the NBC western series Cimarron City. The episodes were supposed to have rotated from star George Montgomery as mayor, John Smith as blacksmith/deputy sheriff Lane Temple, and to Totter, but when the writers failed to feature her character, she left the series.
From 1962–63, she starred as homemaker Alice MacRoberts in the ABC situation comedy television series Our Man Higgins, with Stanley Holloway in the lead role as an English butler to a suburban American family. She played a continuing role, that of Nurse Wilcox, the efficient head nurse, in the television series Medical Center from 1972–76. Her last acting role was in a 1987 episode of Murder, She Wrote.
Her granddaughter, Eden Totter, is following in Audrey's footsteps by starting her career as a voice artist.