Denise Darcel, the leading lady of the outstanding William Wellman film WESTWARD THE WOMEN (1951), has passed away. She died in Los Angeles on December 23rd.
Obituaries, including the London Telegraph and the Washington Post, list her age as 87, while IMDb gives her age as 86.
Darcel played opposite Robert Taylor in WESTWARD THE WOMEN, a gritty and underappreciated film which has received some deserved fresh attention from classic film bloggers in recent years. Darcel played one of the brave women who struggles across dangerous territory, toward the promise of a new life in California. She and the other women earn the respect of the tough trail boss (Taylor), and she and Taylor fall in love.
The movie was shot in Kanab, Utah; MGM made a great little promotional short about the location filming. Darcel can also be seen in the trailer.
She had starred the previous year in Wellman's BATTLEGROUND (1949).
Her other credits included YOUNG MAN WITH IDEAS (1952) and DANGEROUS WHEN WET (1953), both for MGM, as were the Wellman films. She later starred with Burt Lancaster in VERA CRUZ (1954). (Update: I've now reviewed YOUNG MAN WITH IDEAS.)
Her film career was relatively short-lived, and her last screen appearances were in the early '60s.