First seen (albeit all-too-briefly) within the world of noir in WHEN STRANGERS MARRY (1944), she began to attract more attention with small parts in SPELLBOUND (1945) and THE SPIRAL STAIRCASE (1946) before scoring her first plum role as "the other" femme fatale, Meta Carson, in OUT OF THE PAST (1947). Hollywood quickly determined that Fleming was meant for technicolor, so her work in noir would ultimately be sparse, particularly in B&W, with only CRY DANGER (1951), THE KILLER IS LOOSE (1956) and WHILE THE CITY SLEEPS (1956) being added to the traditional "delivery system" of noir.
Several filmmakers were astute enough, however, to feature her in several of the rare color variants of noir in this time frame: INFERNO (1953), where she is a scheming wife, and SLIGHTLY SCARLET (1956), as the lead "bad girl" who is deliriously accompanied by fellow red-head bombshell Arlene Dahl.
Of all these roles, her turn in CRY DANGER may be the best, where she smoothly double-crosses Dick Powell and almost makes him like it. Fleming and Powell teamed up again ten years later in an episode of "The Dick Powell Theatre" entitled "John J. Diggs," an offbeat south-of-the-border tale that gives both of them a chance to do something a little different from what we'd expect. Director Ralph Nelson was just about to leave episodic TV behind for a film career, and this is one of three "Powell Theatre" episodes he helmed in the program's first season.
Fleming, of course, remained a grande dame long after she retired from films, and was famously married to Ted Mann, mastermind of Mann Theatres. Together and separately they devoted themselves to philanthropic causes, particularly in the field of cancer research.
Fleming's beauty was legendary, and a story recounted at IMDB suggests that she was "camera-proof." Supposedly a cameraman on one of her films tried everything he could think of to photograph her badly; he was astonished to discover that no matter how deliberately he botched it in a variety of ways, she still came out looking gorgeous.