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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Leigh Snowden
Snowden in a promotional picture for Tightrope! (1960)
Martha Lee Estes

(1929-06-23)June 23, 1929
DiedMay 16, 1982(1982-05-16) (aged 52)
Occupation(s)Film, television, stage actress
Years active1954–1961, 1971
James W. Snowden, Sr.
(m. 1952; div. 1955)
(m. 1956)

Leigh Snowden (June 23, 1929 – May 16, 1982) was an American actress in motion pictures and television.

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Early life

Snowden was born Martha Lee Estes in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.[1] When her father died when she was three, Estes and her mother moved to Covington, Tennessee. When she was 16, Estes married her classmate, James Snowden, and moved with him to San Francisco, California, when he joined the military.[2] After the birth of two children, a girl and boy, Leigh and James Snowden got an uncontested divorce with Leigh gaining custody of the children.[citation needed]

Early career

After her divorce, Snowden moved to Los Angeles, California, and worked in modeling and in small parts on television. She got her big break into show business on a Jack Benny Christmas show that was televised from the San Diego Naval Base. When Snowden walked across the stage in front of an audience of 10,000 sailors, the sailors cheered and whistled so enthusiastically that 11 Hollywood studios contacted her the next day. The event led to the newspaper headline "Sailors' Whistles Blow Blonde into Film Studio".[3] Snowden chose Universal Pictures because of the training provided by its film school; she began voice and acting classes with Mara Corday, Pat Crowley, Clint Eastwood, James Garner, and John Saxon.[3]

Snowden appeared in the films All That Heaven Allows, The Square Jungle, The Creature Walks Among Us, Outside the Law, I've Lived Before, and Hot Rod Rumble in addition to television appearances.[citation needed] Her last performance in movies was as Evie in The Comancheros (1961). Her last TV roles came in episodes of This Is Alice (1958) and Tightrope (1960).

In 1956, Snowden met accordionist Dick Contino at a party given by actor Tony Curtis. In September, after a three-month acquaintance, Snowden and Contino were married.[3] Contino's family, who were Catholic, originally objected to the marriage because Snowden was divorced, but they relented and attended the civil ceremony in a Beverly Hills hotel.[4][5] Snowden and Contino had three children together, in addition to her two children from her first marriage. Snowden left acting after her marriage and the birth of their first child. She sometimes appeared with him, as a singer, in his nightclub acts.[1]

Return to acting

In 1971, Snowden appeared in the role of Maggie in the Fresno Community Theater production of Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams. She professed a love of the stage, though she claimed to be nervous about having to appear in her slip during most of the play's second act.[3]


Snowden died of cancer, aged 52, on May 16, 1982 in North Hollywood, California.[6]



Year Title Role Notes
1955 Kiss Me Deadly Cheesecake
1955 Francis in the Navy Nurse Appleby
1955 All That Heaven Allows Jo-Ann Grisby
1955 The Square Jungle Lorraine Evans
1956 The Creature Walks Among Us Marcia Barton
1956 Outside the Law Maria Craven
1956 The Rawhide Years Miss Vanilla Bissell
1956 I've Lived Before Lois Gordon
1956 Riddles in Rhythm Leigh Short film
1957 Hot Rod Rumble Terri Warren
1961 The Comancheros Ada Belle Uncredited


Year Title Role Notes
1954 The Jack Benny Program Beautiful Girl Episode: "The Life of Jack Benny"
1955 Studio 57 Episode: "The Will to Survive"
1955 The Mickey Rooney Show Mona Sanders Episode: "Star Struck"
1955 Lux Video Theatre Haney Benson / Diane Baxter 2 episodes
1955–1959 The Bob Cummings Show Chorus Girl / Cynthia / Doris 3 episodes
1958 This Is Alice Betty Lou 3 episodes
1959 The Lineup Helen Episode: "Vengeful Knife"
1960 Tightrope! Candy Episode: "Three to Make Ready"
1960 Bachelor Father Elaine Baker Episode: "Where There's a Will"
1961 The Detectives Susie Episode: "One Lucky Break"


  1. ^ a b Weaver, Tom; Schecter, David; Kronenberg, Steve (February 6, 2017). The Creature Chronicles: Exploring the Black Lagoon Trilogy. McFarland. ISBN 978-1-4766-1580-6.
  2. ^ "How Leigh Snowden Broke into Movies (June 3, 1956)". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 3, 2017.
  3. ^ a b c d Hale, David (March 14, 1971). "Actress Leigh Snowden: She was a Hollywood 'Glamour Puss'". The Fresno Bee The Republican. pp. 4–G. Retrieved August 3, 2017 – via
  4. ^ "Contino and Leigh Snowden honeymoon". Corpus Christi Caller-Times. September 19, 1956. Retrieved August 3, 2017 – via
  5. ^ "Dick Contino to wed Leigh Snowden today". The Logansport Press. 1956-09-18. p. 4. Retrieved 2017-08-03 – via
  6. ^ "Obituaries". United Press International. Retrieved August 3, 2017.

External links

This page was last edited on 20 June 2023, at 00:58
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