Debra Paget is an American actress who is known for her role in 1950’s movies and TV shows. She is best known for her roles in Broken Arrow, The Ten Commandments and Elvis Presley’s film debut, Love Me Tender. She was also known for her risque snake dance scene in Mausoleum. Despite her success, she was unable to maintain a stable marriage and decided to retire from acting. She has since become a born-again Christian and hosts an interlude show on Trinity Broadcasting.
Born Debralee Griffin on August 19 1933 in Denver, Colorado, she is the daughter of Frank Henry Griffin and Margaret Allen (née Gibson). Her mother enrolled her in dance and acting classes when she was 8 and the family moved to Los Angeles to be closer to the developing film industry. Paget was spotted by a talent scout and began her career in films at the age of 14.
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Her first movie was the 1948 film noir Cry in the City, which was also her first 20th Century Fox film. After this, she appeared in a number of small roles before starring in the 1950 western film Broken Arrow. This was a very successful film and 20th Century Fox signed Paget to a long-term contract. She also starred in The Big Heat and Mother Is a Freshman, among others.
In 1956, she appeared in the epic religious drama The Ten Commandments and received critical acclaim for her portrayal of Lilia. The film was directed by Cecil B. DeMille and starred Charlton Heston, Yul Brynner, and Anne Baxter. Her performance in this movie led to her being named Best Supporting Actress at the Oscars.
After her retirement from acting, she became a Christian and hosted an interlude show on Trinity Broadcasting called An Interlude with Debra Paget. She has been living a private life in Houston, Texas since the second half of the ’90s.
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Besides her acting, she has also been involved in television and radio. She played a guest role in the show Rawhide in 1960 and 1962 and read parts on a number of episodes of Family Theater from 1950 to 1956. She also took part in some of the early Lux Radio Theater broadcasts. During the latter years of her life, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and passed away on April 26, 2014. She was 88. Her son Gregory Teh-Chi Kung was the beneficiary of her estate. He inherited $1 million. She is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale, California.