Fay Spain

Lona Fay Spain[2] (October 6, 1932 – May 8, 1983) was an American actress in motion pictures and television.

Fay Spain
Fay Spain 1960.JPG
Spain in 1960
Lona Fay Spain

(1932-10-06)October 6, 1932
DiedMay 8, 1983(1983-05-08) (aged 50)
Other namesLona May Spain
OccupationFilm/TV actress
Years active1955–1977
Spouse(s)John Falvo (m.1949–div.1954)
John Altoon (m.1959–div.1962)
Imo Ughini (m.1965–div.1966)
Philip Fulmer (m.1968)

Early yearsEdit

Born in Phoenix, Arizona, Fay Spain was the younger of two daughters born to Robert C. Spain and Arminta Frances "Mickie" Cochran.[2] When she was 17 years old, Spain worked as a dealer in a casino in Reno, Nevada. Years later, she said, "I lied about my age and got a job as a dealer – and made big money, much more than my husband, who was a shill."[3]

Theater apprenticeEdit

She began living alone in her English teacher's attic at the age of 14.[citation needed] The teacher had a daughter who was affiliated with an acting stock company in Maryland. She gave Spain a job which combined the duties of acting apprentice and babysitting. At sixteen, Miss Spain was in New York City, residing in an $8-a-week room on the Upper West Side. She worked in a tie shop where she became acquainted with an associate of Walter Winchell. The gossip writer mentioned her name in a column and Spain received a call from Columbia Pictures. She was not extended a contract because she "wasn't pretty enough for Hollywood".[citation needed]

Within two months she found work with a stock company in the Catskill Mountains. She obtained an Equity Card which enabled her to continue working as an actress. Spain eschewed a college scholarship after attending high school in White Salmon, Washington. She chose instead to pursue a stock company apprenticeship.

Film actressEdit

As a film aspirant her first screen test was made with James Garner. The test was unfavorable and she was not considered photogenic.[citation needed] She continued to pursue acting, unimpeded by rejection. She accepted any parts which came along, learning the techniques of the acting trade.

In 1955, Spain was one of 15 actresses who were named WAMPAS Baby Stars.[4] She first came to prominence with movie audiences in the late 1950s. In 1957, she appeared as Carol Smith with John Smith as Tommy Kelly in the dramatic film The Crooked Circle in which a young boxer is pressured to throw a fight. In 1958, she was cast as "Darlin Jill" in the film version of God's Little Acre, based on Erskine Caldwell's novel. The film marked the screen debut of Tina Louise and also starred Robert Ryan, Jack Lord, Buddy Hackett, Aldo Ray, and Vic Morrow.

Spain followed this success by playing Maureen Flannery in the film Al Capone (1959), and appeared in such films as The Beat Generation (1959), The Private Lives of Adam and Eve (1960), Hercules and the Conquest of Atlantis (1961), Black Gold (1962), Thunder Island (1963), Flight to Fury (1964), The Gentle Rain (1966), Welcome to Hard Times (1967) and The Todd Killings (1971).

Her final appearance as a film actress came in 1974, when she portrayed the wife of mobster Hyman Roth (Lee Strasberg) in The Godfather Part II (1974).


When she was 16, Spain married John Falvo, a screenwriter and actor. They had one son, Jock Falvo (born 1954), and divorced in 1954.[2] In 1959 the actress married west coast abstract painter John Altoon.[5] They spent their honeymoon in Reno, Nevada. Both led busy lives and enjoyed their time away from work by relaxing in a home they remodeled in the San Fernando Valley of California. Altoon was an art instructor in Los Angeles. He contributed art for a series of record album covers.[citation needed] From 1965 to 1966, she was married to Imo Ughini, a hairdresser.[2]


Spain starred in 11 episodes of NBC Matinee Theater.[6]

She appeared as a contestant in an episode of the Groucho Marx game show You Bet Your Life (episode #56-02, October 4, 1956, Secret Word 'Hand'). By the middle and late 1950s and 1960s, Spain appeared in Bonanza (Sue Ellen Terry in "The Sisters"), Gunsmoke, Cheyenne, Rawhide, Whirlybirds, Perry Mason (Charlotte Lynch in "The Case of the Fiery Fingers"), Tombstone Territory (episode "Pick up the Gun"), The Millionaire, M Squad, Adventures in Paradise, The Texan, Riverboat, The Rat Patrol, Gomer Pyle, USMC, Gunsmoke (episode "Mavis McCloud" (1957) and episode "A Man a Day" (1961)), Playhouse 90, 77 Sunset Strip, Have Gun - Will Travel (episode "High Wire," 1957), Alfred Hitchcock Presents (episode "The Last Dark Step" (1959) and "The Cuckoo Clock" (1960)), Maverick (episodes “The Naked Gallows” with Jack Kelly (1957), "the Goose-Drownder” (1959), and "The Cactus Switch" with Roger Moore (1961)), Pony Express, The Restless Gun, The Fugitive, Bat Masterson and as Angela in Steve McQueen's Wanted: Dead or Alive (Season 2, Episode 18 (1959)).

Spain also appeared on the NBC interview program Here's Hollywood. In the 1950s and 1960s she continued to be seen frequently on television series such as Rawhide episodes, "Incident of the Valley in Shadow" (1959) and "Incident in the Middle of Nowhere" (1961) and "Incident of the Lost Woman" (1962), as well as Stoney Burke, Hogan's Heroes and The Fugitive.

In 1966, she was cast as Calamity Jane in the episode "A Calamity Called Jane" of the syndicated series, Death Valley Days, hosted by Robert Taylor. Rhodes Reason played Wild Bill Hickok in this episode.[7][better source needed]


Fay Spain died of lymphatic cancer in Los Angeles in 1983 at age 50.


Year Title Role Notes
1957 Dragstrip Girl Louise Blake
1957 The Abductors Sue Ellen
1957 Teenage Doll Helen
1957 The Crooked Circle Carol Smith
1958 God's Little Acre Darlin' Jill
1959 Al Capone Maureen Flannery
1959 The Beat Generation Francee Culloran
1960 The Private Lives of Adam and Eve Lil Lewis / Lilith
1961 Hercules and the Conquest of Atlantis Queen Antinea of Atlantis
1962 Black Gold Julie
1963 Thunder Island Helen Dodge
1963 The Great Space Adventure
1964 Flight to Fury Destiny Cooper
1964 Cordillera
1965 Choque de Sentimentos
1966 The Gentle Rain Nancy Masters
1967 Welcome to Hard Times Jessie
1970 The Naked Zoo Pauline
1974 The Todd Killings Mrs. Mack
1974 The Godfather Part II Mrs. Marcia Roth


  1. ^ "Fay Spain". Glamour Girls. Archived from the original on June 30, 2012. Retrieved October 6, 2014.
  2. ^ a b c d Wagner, Laura (Spring 2019). "Fay Spain". Films of the Golden Age (96): 56–57.
  3. ^ "Fay Spain Really Veteran Gambler". Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. Texas, Lubbock. Associated Press. November 16, 1958. p. 64. Retrieved June 4, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.  
  4. ^ "15 Wampas Baby Stars Appointed". Long Beach Independent. California, Long Beach. Associated Press. October 31, 1955. p. 13. Retrieved June 4, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.  
  5. ^ "Actress Fay Spain, Painter To Marry". The Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Texas, Corpus Christi. Associated Press. January 29, 1959. p. 18. Retrieved June 4, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.  
  6. ^ Johnson, Erskine (March 6, 1959). "Hollywood Today". The Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Texas, Corpus Christi. p. 40. Retrieved June 4, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.  
  7. ^ ""A Calamity Called Jane" on Death Valley Days". Internet Movie Data Base. June 2, 2015.


  • The Fremont Argus, "Fay Spain", May 17, 1975, Page 40.
  • Reno Evening Gazette, "Fay Spain Comes Back To Reno", Friday, February 6, 1959, Page 22.

External linksEdit