Nancy Gates

Nancy Gates (February 1, 1926[1] – March 24, 2019[2]) was an American film and television actress.

Nancy Gates
Gates in 1954
Nancy Jane Gates

February 1, 1926
Died (aged 93)
OccupationFilm, television actress
Years active1942–1969
J. William Hayes
(m. 1948; died 1992)
Children4, including Chip Hayes

Early life

The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Virgil Gates,[3] Nancy Gates was born in Dallas, Texas, Gates grew up in nearby Denton, and was described as "a child wonder."[4] A 1932 newspaper article about an Easter program at Robert E. Lee School noted, "Nancy Gates, presenting a soft-shoe number, will open the style show."[5] That same year, she had a part in the Denton Kiddie Revue.[6]

In 1935,[7] she appeared in the production "A Kiss for Cinderella," which starred Brenda Marshall and a minstrel show that included Ann Sheridan, both of whom were from Denton.[4] She was in show business before she finished high school, having her own radio program on WFAA in Dallas[7] for two years while she was a student at Denton High School,[8] from which she graduated.[9] Musically oriented, Gates was featured as a singer in a 1942 concert by the North Texas State Teachers College stage band.[10]

Gates attended the University of Oklahoma for one year before getting married.[3]



Gates entered acting at a young age, receiving a contract with RKO at the age of 15, which required court approval because of her status as a minor.[11] Orson Welles screen-tested her for a role in the 1942 film The Magnificent Ambersons. Although she did not get the role, which went to Anne Baxter, the test paved the way for her future entry into film.[4] That same year she had her first credited role, in The Great Gildersleeve. In 1943 she went on contract with RKO, her first film with them being Hitler's Children that same year. She began receiving roles in mostly B-movies, many of which were westerns or sci-fi, eventually receiving lead roles as the heroine. In 1948 she starred opposite Eddie Dean in Check Your Guns, and in 1949 she played alongside Jim Bannon, Marin Sais, and Emmett Lynn in an episode of the Red Ryder serial, titled Roll, Thunder, Roll. She would star in several other films over the next ten years, especially in westerns like Comanche Station (1959), and in support roles, most notably in two Frank Sinatra films, Some Came Running and Suddenly.

In total Gates starred or co-starred in 34 films and serials. She retired from acting in 1969.


Gates made her radio debut on the September 29, 1941, broadcast of CBS Radio's The Orson Welles Show, playing opposite Welles in an adaptation of Sherwood Anderson's short story "I'm a Fool".[12] She performed in the soap opera Masquerade on NBC in 1946–1947.[13] A February 21, 1944, newspaper article noted that Gates would "appear in a series of air programs for the RKO Studios beginning Feb. 28."[14] In 1951, she starred on Screen Director's Playhouse opposite William Holden in Remember the Night[15] and on Lux Radio Theatre in a supporting role in Sunset Boulevard.[16]


Gates made a total of 55 television appearances. She made two appearances on the television series Maverick, three appearances on Perry Mason, three on Wagon Train, six on Lux Video Theater, and two on Alfred Hitchcock Presents. In 1957 she had a memorable role as defendant Martha Bradford in the Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Crooked Candle;" then in 1964 she was cast in the role of the defendant, Mary Douglas, in "The Case of the Woeful Widower." In 1965 she again played the role of Perry's client, this time as Claire Armstrong, the title character, in "The Case of the Candy Queen." In 1958; she appeared on Trackdown as Ellen Hackett in “Killer Takes All”.

Her other TV appearances included The Third Man,[17] Science Fiction Theater, Bonanza,[18] Studio 57,[19] The Lineup,[20] Bus Stop,[21] The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse,[22] Your Play Time,[23] Riverboat,[24] General Electric Theater,[25] Rawhide,[26] Letter to Loretta,[27] Laramie, The Mod Squad,[28] Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre,[29] Bourbon Street Beat,[30] The Special for Women with Dinah Shore,[31] Danny Thomas Hour,[32] and Damon Runyon Theater.[33]


Gates retired in 1969 to be closer to her family.

She was married to Hollywood attorney and business manager J. William Hayes, whom she met when he was a commercial pilot and she was a passenger on one of his flights.[34] They had four children, twin daughters Cindy and Cathy,[35] born November 5, 1960,[36] and sons who became Hollywood producers—Jeffrey M. Hayes and Chip Hayes. Hayes died in 1992.

Gates died in March 2019 at the age of 93.[37]



  1. Katz, Ephraim (1979). The Film Encyclopedia: The Most Comprehensive Encyclopedia of World Cinema in a Single Volume. Perigee Books. ISBN 0-399-50601-2.P. 471.
  2. "Nancy Gates, Actress in 'Comanche Station' and Sinatra Films, Dies at 93".
  3. Kleypas, Rosmarie (March 5, 1950). "Nancy Gates Returns To Visit Family, Friends After Completing New Movie". Denton Record-Chronicle. p. 6.
  4. "Texas' Gift to Hollywood". The San Bernardino County Sun. December 20, 1942. p. 28. Retrieved March 25, 2015 via
  5. "Lee School Plans Easter Program". Denton Record-Chronicle. March 22, 1932. p. 5. Retrieved March 26, 2015 via
  6. "Big Crowd Sees Kiddie Revue Here". Denton Record-Chronicle. May 30, 1932. p. 5. Retrieved March 27, 2015 via
  7. Wagner, Laura (April 2015). "Nancy Gates: 'I Just Work When I Feel Like It'". Classic Images (478): 6–15, 65–67.
  8. "Nancy Gates". Denton Record-Chronicle. February 24, 1952. p. 2. Retrieved March 25, 2015 via
  9. "Nancy Gates to Get one of Top Roles in Gildersleeve Film to Be produced by RKO". Denton Record-Chronicle. September 14, 1942. p. 3. Retrieved March 25, 2015 via
  10. "Nancy Gates to Remain Here for T.C. 'Concert In Swing' Jan. 8". Denton Record-Chronicle. December 30, 1942. p. 3. Retrieved March 25, 2015 via
  11. "Court Approves Nancy Gates' RKO Movie Contract". Denton Record-Chronicle. August 13, 1947. p. 6. Retrieved March 26, 2015 via
  12. "Orson Welles Show: The Interlopers". Orson Welles on the Air, 1938–1946. Indiana University Bloomington. September 29, 1941. Retrieved 2018-07-23.
  13. Dunning, John. (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. Pp. 442, 525.
  14. "Nancy Gates to Be on Air". Denton Record-Chronicle. February 21, 1944. p. 3. Retrieved March 25, 2015 via
  15. "Screen Director's Playhouse: Remember the Night - Classic Radio". June 12, 2014. Retrieved November 11, 2018.
  16. "Miss Nancy Gates Appears Monday On Radio Show". Denton Record-Chronicle. September 13, 1951. p. 3. Retrieved March 27, 2015 via
  17. "(TV listing)". Independent Press-Telegram. May 21, 1961. p. 73. Retrieved March 27, 2015 via
  18. "(TV listing)". The Corpus Christi Caller-Times. August 21, 1966. p. 69. Retrieved March 27, 2015 via
  19. "(TV listing)". Independent. September 13, 1958. p. 16. Retrieved March 27, 2015 via
  20. "(TV listing)". Independent. January 6, 1960. p. 27. Retrieved March 27, 2015 via
  21. "(TV listing)". Independent Press-Telegram. November 19, 1961. p. 131. Retrieved March 27, 2015 via
  22. "(TV listing)". Long Beach Independent. November 6, 1953. p. 29. Retrieved March 27, 2015 via
  23. "(TV listing)". The Brooklyn Daily Eagle. August 15, 1954. p. 17. Retrieved March 27, 2015 via
  24. "(TV listing)". The Times-Record. August 27, 1960. p. 26. Retrieved March 27, 2015 via
  25. "(TV listing)". Independent Press-Telegram. July 8, 1956. p. 30. Retrieved March 26, 2015 via
  26. "(photo caption)". Independent Press-Telegram. October 31, 1965. p. 186. Retrieved March 26, 2015 via
  27. "(TV listing)". The Pantagraph. November 9, 1957. p. 17. Retrieved March 26, 2015 via
  28. "(TV listing)". San Antonio Express. June 2, 1970. p. 8. Retrieved March 26, 2015 via
  29. "Nancy Gates, John Derek On 'Zane Grey'". The Morning Herald. April 29, 1961. p. 27. Retrieved March 25, 2015 via
  30. "On TV This Week" (Express and News). January 3, 1960. p. 75. Retrieved March 26, 2015 via
  31. "Nancy Gates In Special On Housewife". The Daily Herald. February 22, 1965. p. 17. Retrieved March 26, 2015 via
  32. "(TV listing)". Standard-Speaker. May 11, 1968. Retrieved March 26, 2015 via
  33. Vernon, Terry (April 30, 1955). "Tele-Vues". Long Beach Independent. p. 6. Retrieved March 26, 2015 via
  34. "Headliners Featured On 'Here's Hollywood'". The Daily Herald. August 21, 1961. p. 19. Retrieved March 26, 2015 via
  35. "Hollywood Actress Is A Home Girl". The Herald. November 16, 1961. p. 10. Retrieved March 27, 2015 via
  36. "Twin Girls Born To Nancy Gates". The Times. November 7, 1960. p. 14. Retrieved March 27, 2015 via
  37. Nancy Gates Telegraph obituary
  38. Greer, Kitty (June 27, 1946). "'Expelled From School', Starlet Nancy Gates Takes Vacation From Radio Show to Visit Homefolks Here". Denton Record-Chronicle. p. 4. Retrieved March 25, 2015 via
  39. "Target Hong Kong". Motion Picture Daily. December 29, 1952. p. 36. Retrieved 25 March 2015.
  40. Maltin, Leonard (1995). Leonard Maltin's Movie and Video Guide 1995. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-451-18172-7. P. 830.
  41. "Eavesdropping (photo caption)". Abilene Reporter-News. July 29, 1956. p. 31.
  42. "George Sanders Stars In Unusual RKO Movie Now at Local Theatre". Shamokin News-Dispatch. April 15, 1957. p. 12. Retrieved March 27, 2015 via
  43. "What's Showing?". The Jefferson Bee. June 18, 1957. p. 2. Retrieved March 25, 2015 via
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