Laurette Luez (Loretta Mary Luiz)

Laurette Luez

Laurette Luez was the second of three children born in Honolulu, Hawaii to Frank and Francesca Luiz, vaudeville singers and dancers who performed traditional Hawaiian and Spanish music. Luez’s father was Hawaiian with some Portuguese ancestry. Her mother was Australian, the daughter of an actor. Luez first showed up on stage doing a hula dance at age three. In July 1935 the family left Honolulu on the SS Mariposa to settle in Los Angeles. That same year, six-year-old Loretta performed for Sultan Ibrahim of Johor, who was known as one of the wealthiest men in the world at that time. In 1944 she was cast as a fetching Javanese girl in The Story of Dr. Wassell. In October 1944, she was featured in Esquire. She signed a five-year contract with 20th Century-Fox in 1945, for a weekly salary of $125. In the late 1940s, she became a highly successful model, appearing in photographs and artwork for national brands such as Lux soap. In 1949, when she was 21, she played Marla Rakubian in the film noir D.O.A. In 1950, Luez became widely known for supporting roles with Roddy McDowell in Killer Shark, and Kim with Errol Flynn, which was the first major motion picture filmed in India.

From that time forward she was cast mostly in exotic, sexy character roles in films and television. In 1953, she appeared in Siren of Bagdad as a dancing slave girl. The following year, she played a small role in the Bowery Boys film, Jungle Gents, opposite Huntz Hall’s character “Sach” (her one line was “Kiss, kiss, kiss”). In 1956, she appeared in another exotic slave-girl role as Karamaneh in the syndicated TV series, The Adventures of Dr. Fu Manchu. Her last major film credit was in 1963 when she played a cantina girl, Felina, in Ballad of a Gunfighter with Marty Robbins, drawn from his 1959 hit song “El Paso.” Laurette Luez left the film industry in 1965. By 1990 Luez was living in the Los Feliz district of Los Angeles with her sister Lei, along with a nephew. Laurette Luez died on September 12, 1999 in Milton, Florida, aged 71, from undisclosed causes.

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Born

  • August, 19, 1928
  • USA
  • Honolulu, Hawaii

Died

  • September, 12, 1999
  • USA
  • Milton, Florida

Cemetery

  • Serenity Gardens
  • Milton, Florida
  • USA

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