Cara Williams Dies: Oscar- And Emmy-Nominated Golden Age Starlet Known For ‘The Defiant Ones,’ ‘Pete And Gladys’ & More Was 96

Cara Williams
Everett Collection

Cara Williams, the actress known for her Oscar-nominated turn in The Defiant Ones, her Emmy-nominated performance in CBS’ sitcom Pete and Gladys and more, died on December 9. She was 96.

Williams’ passing was confirmed in a Twitter post published on Saturday by her great-nephew, Richard Potter. “My Great Aunt, who might have been the last surviving Golden Age of Hollywood actress died on Thursday at 96,” he wrote. “#Oscar & #Emmy Nominated. #CaraWilliams. RIP Cara.”

The actress was born in Brooklyn, NY on June 29, 1925 as Bernice Kamiat, finding her first film role in Lesley Selander’s 1941 Western, Wide Open Town. She starred in Stanley Kramer’s drama The Defiant Ones opposite Sidney Poitier and Tony Curtis, appearing in December Bride spinoff Pete and Gladys opposite Harry Morgan.

Over the course of her 40-plus year screen career, Williams garnered a total of 55 screen credits. She also appeared on the film side in Girls’ Town, Happy Land, Sweet and Low-Down, In the Meantime, Darling, Laura, Something for the Boys, Don Juan Quilligan, The Spider, Boomerang!, Sitting Pretty, The Saxon Charm, Knock on Any Door, The Girl Next Door, We Go to Monte Carlo, The Great Diamond Robbery, Meet Me in Las Vegas, The Helen Morgan Story, Never Steal Anything Small, The Man from the Diners’ Club, Doctors’ Wives, The White Buffalo and The One Man Jury.

She toplined her own CBS sitcom, The Cara Williams Show, in the 1960s, also appearing on the TV side in Theatre of Romance, The Clock, The Philco Television Playhouse, The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre, The Web, Starlight Theatre, The Billy Rose Show, Suspense, Robert Montgomery Presents, Armstrong Circle Theatre, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Red Skelton Hour and more.

Plans for a memorial have not yet been disclosed to Deadline.

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