Norma McCarty, wife of the late writer-director Ed Wood, who has long had a cult following, and an actress who performed in Wood’s films as well as others, died June 27 at a Newhall, Calif., hospital, it was revealed. She was 93.
McCarty gained fame for playing the stewardess Edith in her husband’s 1959 film “Plan 9 From Outer Space.” The low-budget sci-fi thriller, which was about extraterrestrial beings seeking to stop humans from creating a doomsday weapon, flopped in the box office and was dubbed “the worst movie ever made,” but over the years there have been fans who have celebrated the film.
She also appeared on TV in “The Incredibly Strange Film Show” and on episodes of “Perry Mason,” “Superman” and “The Andy Griffith Show.”
McCarty met her filmmaker husband on the studio lot while she was working on CBS’ “Gunsmoke,” according to her son. They were married in late 1955.
McCarty was still legally married to Wood at the time of his death, and she was not depicted in Tim Burton’s 1994 movie “Ed Wood,” about the filmmaker.
She did, however, appear in the 1995 documentary “The Haunted World of Edward D. Wood Jr.”
During her career, McCarty worked with Maila “Vampira” Nurmi, Lyle Talbot, Tor Johnson and Bela Lugosi.McCarty, whose husband made an effort to cast Lugosi in several of his films, worked with Lugosi shortly before the latter’s death in 1956.
McCarty was born in Arkansas and grew up in Missouri. One of the first jobs she had after moving out to California in the 1940s was working as a switchboard operator for Eagle Lion Studios. She eventually served as a receptionist for MGM.