biography

Born Peggy Blair on December 22, 1925, in Appalachia, Virginia (some sources cite either 1926 or 1927 as her year of birth), B movie bad girl Peggie Castle moved to California with her parents in the mid 1930s. While still a teenager, Castle began doing some print model work in the early 1940s. She found roles in a few films in the late 1940s before signing with Universal-International in 1949. A solid actress who was adept at playing femme fatales and hardened saloon girls, the brunette Castle saw her career take off when she bleached her hair blonde.

Peggie CastlePeggie CastlePeggie Castle

Universal-International promotional photos of Peggie Castle from 1950 and 1951

Universal-International cast the pretty actress in a number of film noir thrillers and costume adventures. However, when studio dropped her contract in 1951, Castle began freelancing in numerous westerns, such as Cow Country (1953; with Edmund O'Brien), Son of Belle Starr (1953; with Keith Larsen), and The Yellow Tomahawk (1954; with Rory Calhoun and Peter Graves). She also acted in several film noir pictures at this time, including 99 River Street (1953; with John Payne), Finger Man (1955; with Frank Lovejoy), and The Counterfeit Plan (1957; with Zachary Scott). While she made only three horror/sci-fi films during her career---Invasion U.S.A, (1952; with Gerald Mohr), Beginning of the End (1957; with Peter Graves), and Back from the Dead (1957; with Arthur Franz)---it is these films for which Peggie Castle is best remembered.

the films of peggie castle

The Golden Horde (1951)

Peggie CastlePeggie Castle

Castle portrays Lailee in the Universal-International costume drama The Golden Horde

Invasion USA (1952)

Gerald Mohr and Peggie CastlePeggie Castle and Gerald Mohr

With Gerald Mohr in the Columbia science fiction release Invasion USA, an effective "Red Scare" thriller made on a shoestring budget. Significant portions of the film are comprised of stock footage

Jesse James' Women (1954)

Peggie CastleLita Baron, Don 'Red' Barry, and Peggie Castle

From the low-budget western Jesse James' Women, directed by its star Don 'Red' Barry. LEFT: Castle as Waco Gans. RIGHT: With Lita Baron and Don 'Red' Barry

Overland Pacific (1954)

Jock Mahoney, Peggie Castle, and William Bishop

With Jock Mahoney and William Bishop in the western Overland Pacific

The White Orchid (1954)

Peggie Castle

As Kathryn Williams in the adventure The White Orchid

Target Zero (1955)

Richard Conte, John Alderson, and Peggie Castle

From the Warner Bros. Korean war drama Target Zero with Richard Conte and John Alderson

Miracle in the Rain (1956)

Fred Clark and Peggie Castle

With Fred Clark in the Warner Bros. three-hanky production Miracle in the Rain

The Oklahoma Woman (1956)

Richard Denning and Peggie Castle

With Richard Denning in the Roger Corman western The Oklahoma Woman

Back from the Dead (1957)

Arthur Franz, Marianne Stewart, Peggie Castle, and Helen WallaceArthur Franz and Peggie Castle

From the 20th Century-Fox horror release Back from the Dead. LEFT: With Arthur Franz, Marianne Stewart, and Helen Wallace. RIGHT: With Arthur Franz

Beginning of the End (1957)

Peggie Castle and Peter Graves

With love interest Peter Graves in the science fiction cult classic Beginning of the End. This film once aired on Mystery Science Theater 3000

The Counterfeit Plan (1957)

Zachary Scott and Peggie Castle

With Zachary Scott in the Warner Bros. crime drama The Counterfeit Plan

Seven Hills of Rome (1958)

Peggie Castle and Mario Lanza

From the MGM romance Seven Hills of Rome with Mario Lanza. This was Castle's last film

later years

Beginning in the mid 1950s, Castle did quite a bit of work on television as a guest star on such programs as Gunsmoke, Cheyenne, and Perry Mason. In 1958, she starred in her last film, Seven Hills of Rome (1958; with Mario Lanza). Afterward, Castle worked exclusively in television and, in 1959, landed the role of Lily Merrill in the ABC western TV series The Lawman (1958-1962; with John Russell and Peter Brown).

With the cancellation of The Lawman in the spring of 1962, Peggie Castle decided to retire from the screen, as she was pregnant with her only child. After she and her third husband (whom she married in 1955), assistant director William McGarry, welcomed their daughter's birth in 1963, Castle accepted only an occasional role on television and fully retired in the mid 1960s. Her lengthy marriage to McGarry soured in the late 1960s, so they divorced in 1970 and Castle married again in 1971. This marriage was a short one, however, as her fourth husband Arthur Morgenstern died suddenly in April 1973. Castle was by this time battling alcoholism, which took a severe toll on her health. She was found dead in her Los Angeles apartment on August 11, 1973, at the age of 47 from natural causes. She was survived by her daughter, Erin.

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filmography

FILM
Seven Hills of Rome (1958) with Mario Lanza
Back from the Dead (1957) with Arthur Franz, Marsha Hunt, and Don Haggerty
Beginning of the End (1957) with Peter Graves and Morris Ankrum; once aired on Mystery Science Theater 3000
The Counterfeit Plan (1957) with Zachary Scott, Mervyn Johns, and Lee Patterson
Hell's Crossroads (1957) with Stephen McNally, Robert Vaughn, Barton MacLane, Grant Withers, Myron Healey, and Morris Ankrum
Two-Gun Lady (1956) with William Talman, Marie Windsor, Robert Lowery, and Joe Besser
The Oklahoma Woman (1956) with Richard Denning, Cathy Downs, Mike Connors, Dick Miller, Jonathan Haze, and Bruno VeSota
Quincannon - Frontier Scout (1956) with Tony Martin, John Bromfield, John Smith, Ron Randell, John Doucette, Morris Ankrum, and Peter Mamakos
Miracle in the Rain (1956) with Jane Wyman, Van Johnson, Fred Clark, Eileen Heckart, Barbara Nichols, Alan King, and Arte Johnson
Target Zero (1955) with Richard Conte, Joby Baker, Charles Bronson, Chuck Connors, L.Q. Jones, and Strother Martin
Tall Man Riding (1955) with Randolph Scott, Dorothy Malone, Lane Chandler, and Russ Conway
Finger Man (1955) with Frank Lovejoy, Forrest Tucker, and Timothy Carey
Jesse James' Women (1954) with Don 'Red' Barry, Jack Beutel, and Lita Baron
The Long Wait (1954) with Anthony Quinn, Charles Coburn, Gene Evans, and Bruno VeSota
The Yellow Tomahawk (1954) with Rory Calhoun, Noah Beery Jr., Peter Graves, Lee Van Cleef, Rita Moreno, Robert Bray, and James Best
Overland Pacific (1954) with Jock Mahoney, Adele Jergens, William Bishop, and Walter Sande
The White Orchid (1954) with William Lundigan and Armando Silvestre
99 River Street (1953) with John Payne, Evelyn Keyes, Brad Dexter, Frank Faylen, and Glenn Langan
I, the Jury (1953) with Biff Elliot, Preston Foster, and Margaret Sheridan
Son of Belle Starr (1953) with Keith Larsen, Dona Drake, Regis Toomey, James Seay, and Myron Healey
Cow Country (1953) with Edmond O'Brien, Helen Westcott, Robert Lowery, Barton MacLane, Don Beddoe, Raymond Hatton, and Chuck Courtney
Invasion USA (1952) with Gerald Mohr, Dan O'Herlihy, Robert Bice, Phyllis Coates, and Noel Neill
Wagons West (1952) with Rod Cameron, Noah Beery Jr., Frank Ferguson, Almira Sessions, and Glenn Strange
Harem Girl (1952) with Joan Davis, Minerva Urecal, and Peter Mamakos
The Golden Horde (1951) with Ann Blyth, David Farrar, George Macready, Donald Randolph, and Richard Egan
The Prince Who Was a Thief (1951) with Tony Curtis, Piper Laurie, Everett Sloane, Jeff Corey, Donald Randolph, and Hayden Rorke
Air Cadet (1951) with Stephen McNally, Gail Russell, Alex Nicol, Richard Long, Charles Drake, Rock Hudson, James Best, and Parley Baer
Payment on Demand (1951) with Bette Davis, Barry Sullivan, Kent Taylor, Betty Lynn, John Sutton, Frances Dee, Otto Kruger, Walter Sande, Richard Anderson, and Natalie Schafer
Shakedown (1950) with Howard Duff, Brian Donlevy, Peggy Dow, Lawrence Tierney, Bruce Bennett, and Rock Hudson
I Was a Shoplifter (1950) with Scott Brady, Mona Freeman, Andrea King, Tony Curtis, Charles Drake, Gregg Martell, Larry Keating, Charles McGraw, and Rock Hudson
Buccaneer's Girl (1950) with Yvonne De Carlo, Philip Friend, Robert Douglas, Elsa Lanchester, Andrea King, Jay C. Flippen, Douglass Dumbrille, and Dewey Robinson
Mr. Belvedere Goes to College (1949) with Clifton Webb, Shirley Temple, Tom Drake, Alan Young, Jessie Royce Landis, and Kathleen Hughes
When a Girl's Beautiful (1947) with Adele Jergens, Stephen Dunne, and Steven Geray

TELEVISION SERIES
Lawman, 1958-1962 ABC-TV series. Castle portrayed Lily Merrill from 1959 through 1962. Also in the cast were John Russell and Peter Brown

TELEVISION GUEST APPEARANCES
The Virginian, episode Morgan Starr, originally aired February 9, 1966
World of Giants, episode Chemical Story, originally aired October 10, 1959
The Restless Gun, episode Lady by Law, originally aired May 11, 1959
77 Sunset Strip, episode The Well-Selected Frame, originally aired November 28, 1958
The Texan, episode The First Notch originally aired October 20, 1958
Frontier Justice, episode A Quiet Sunday in San Ardo, originally aired September 8, 1958
The Restless Gun, episode Hornitas Town, originally aired February 10, 1958
Perry Mason, episode The Case of the Negligent Nymph, originally aired December 7, 1957
Cheyenne, episode The Spanish Grant, originally aired May 7, 1957
Gunsmoke, episode Chester's Murder, originally aired March 30, 1957
Conflict, episode The Money, originally aired February 19, 1957
Zane Grey Theater, episode A Quiet Sunday in San Ardo, originally aired November 23, 1956
Four Star Playhouse, episode Success Story, originally aired July 16, 1956
Cheyenne, episode Fury at Rio Hondo, originally aired April 17, 1956
The Millionaire, episode The Candy Caldwell Story, originally aired February 19, 1956
Fireside Theater, episode The Suitors, originally aired December 15, 1953
Fireside Theater, episode A Kiss for Aunt Sophie, originally aired December 30, 1952

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Watch Peggie Castle's 1952 science fiction film Invasion USA

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