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September 18, 2022

40 Beautiful Photos of Susan Peters in the 1940s

Born 1921 as Suzanne Carnahan in Spokane, Washington, American actress Susan Peters appeared in numerous bit parts before earning a minor supporting role in Santa Fe Trail (1940). She made her last film for Warner Bros. in 1942, the film noir The Big Shot opposite Humphrey Bogart and Richard Travis; after its release, Warner opted not to renew her contract.

In 1942, Peters appeared in a supporting role in Tish, which resulted in her signing a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM). The same year, she had a featured role in the Mervyn LeRoy-directed drama Random Harvest, which earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress and established her as a serious dramatic performer. She went on to appear as the lead in numerous films for MGM, including roles in the romantic comedy Young Ideas (1943), and several war films: Assignment in Brittany (1943), Song of Russia (1944), and Keep Your Powder Dry (1945).

On New Year’s Day 1945, Peters’s spinal cord was damaged from an accidental gunshot wound, leaving her permanently paraplegic. She returned to film portraying a villain who used a wheelchair in The Sign of the Ram (1948). Peters then transitioned to theater, appearing as Laura Wingfield in a critically acclaimed 1949 production of Tennessee Williams’s The Glass Menagerie, which was slightly altered to allow Peters to perform in a wheelchair. She followed this with a production of The Barretts of Wimpole Street, in which she portrayed physically disabled poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

By 1952, however, Peters had had clinical depression for several years due to the dissolution of her marriage and her limited career options. In late 1952, she began starving herself, which combined with her paralysis led to chronic kidney infections and pneumonia. She died of ensuing health complications that year at age 31.

Take a look at these vintage photos to see the beauty of young Susan Peters in the 1940s.

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