Anyone who loves B-movies of the 1950s appreciates this lovely actress Allison Hayes. She was born Mary Jane Hayes on March 6, 1930 in Charleston, West Virginia. The raven-haired beauty was the 1949 Washington, D.C. entry into the Miss America pageant. Shortly afterwards, Mary Jane adopted the familiar first name of Allison. She got her start on local Washington television before heading to Hollywood in the early 1950s. Allison began her career with Universal Pictures; the studio groomed her, but only on the path of B-movies. In her film debut, Francis Joins the WACS (1954), she was a supporting actress to the speaking mule, which had the title role. She played the devilishly alluring “Livia” in The Undead (1957), and co-starred with B-movie legend Tor Johnson in The Unearthly (1957).
Allison achieved film immortality in Attack of the 50 Foot Woman (1958), in which she tore the roof off the place, and killed rival Yvette Vickers. After that, Allison was a staple in classic B-grade horror films. She was in the exploitation classic The Hypnotic Eye (1960), which had a trailer showing an alleged hypnotist mesmerizing a volunteer as he stuck long needles in her arms (this was some of the typical ballyhoo going on at the time). However, Allison was a versatile actress; she did drama very well, as when she guest-starred on the television series The Untouchables (1959), in the highly-rated episode, The Untouchables: The Rusty Heller Story (1960).
Allison had a flair for comedy, which she demonstrated when she appeared in the Dean Martin film, Who’s Been Sleeping in My Bed? (1963). Her last film appearance was with “The King”, himself, Elvis Presley in Tickle Me (1965), with a hilarious script by the legendary writer Elwood Ullman. However, Allison’s health declined steadily throughout the 1960s. Her death on February 27, 1977 was due either to leukemia or lead poisoning (due to doctor-prescribed calcium supplements). Allison Hayes died far too young; her fans will forever remember her legacy in films.
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