Suzan Ball – What a Really Sad Story !!

I wasn’t that familiar with this Hollywood Film Star – Suzan Ball – and in reality she did not make many films – but I have come across her in a publication when she had just married Actor Richard Long 1n 1954 Suzan Ball and Richard Long 5

Sadly their happiness did not last long as she died on cancer in just over  a year after they married. She was only 21 years old.

Suzan Ball and Richard Long 2   Suzan Ball and Richard Long 3   Suzan Ball and Richard Long 4

They do look very happy in the pictures above and she talks of their life together.


Suzan Ball was born In Jamestown, New York in 1934 In 1947 her family moved to North HJollywood just round the corner from Universal-International. 

In 1951 she got a small uncredited part in Mongram’s Aladdin and His Lamp – and later that same year she signed a contract with Universal-International.  She appeard in Untamed Frontier.



In 1953 she fell deeply in love with Anthony Quinn during the filming of City Beneath the Sea but he was married at that time. The continue their relationship for about a year

City Beneath the Sea

There have been many sad stories come out of Hollywood and Suzan Ball’s is one of the saddest.

 ABOVE -with Anthony Quinn in City Beneath the Sea

Suzan Ball B


ABOVE:  With Anthony Quinn

It was whilst she was rehearsing a dance number for East of Sumatra (1953) that Suzan suffered an injury to her right leg. She ignored the injury, but a short while after that she was a passenger in a car that was side-swiped and the same knee struck a door handle. It was painful but she still did not see a doctor about it.


Later that same year she made War Arrow with Jeff Chandler and during the shoot the leg began to give her serious trouble. She reluctantly sought medical advice and was informed by doctors that the limb had developed tumours. When she slipped on some spilled water at home and broke the same leg, Suzan was rushed to hospital and operated on to remove the tumours. The operation was not a success, however, and on January 12, 1954 her leg was amputated. She was still only 19 years old.


Suzan Ball D

with Anthony Quinn again in East of Sumatra (1953)

Suzan made only one picture after the amputation, a western with Victor Mature titled Chief Crazy Horse (1955). In it she played Black Shawl, Crazy Horse’s wife. A double was used for scenes that required her to walk. For close-ups in those scenes she would move her shoulders to simulate a walking motion. The producers wanted to replace her with Susan Cabot but director George Sherman flatly refused to do so.

Suzan Ball with Victor Mature

with Victor Mature in Chief Crazy Horse (1955)

Suzan Ball with Victor Mature 2


Suzan Ball C

She had become engaged to Richard Long who had stuck steadfastly by her and, in April 1954, they were married.


Suzan Ball and Richard Long 6


The bride insisted she walk down the aisle unaided – fitted with an artificial limb beneath her wedding dress.


However, two months later she collapsed and doctors found that the cancer had spread to her lungs.


‘I felt no pity for myself’, she told an interviewer. ‘Nor have I any feeling of regret. Sometimes I pondered, ‘Why has this thing happened to me?’ But it was never in terms of a complaint. I sought a real answer. It is not an easy one to find, and perhaps I will never know.’


Suzan Ball and Richard Long 7

with Richard Long

Universal rented a sumptuous home to enable Suzan to spend her final weeks in luxury.  The pressure on her husband was intense.

She died six months after her 21st birthday on August 5, 1955.

Just a few days earlier  Robert Francis  had died at 25 in a plane crash, and in September, 24 year-old James Dean would be killed in an car accident.  A tragic three months in Hollywood’s history.

Suzan Ball and Richard Long 8


Richard Long later married Mara Corday who had been a close friend after they had met during rehearsals for a play ‘The Big Knife’

They went on to have three children together

In 1974 Richard Long suffered a heart attack and died at the age of 47.





posted by Movieman in Uncategorized and have Comments (6)

6 Responses to “Suzan Ball – What a Really Sad Story !!”

  1. Marc Leslie Kagan says:

    Also Suzan Ball was second cousin to Lucille Ball.

    • Movieman says:

      Marc, Thank you for your comment – I had not realised that. It is a very sad story though for a young lady with the world at her feet coming to such a tragic end at a very young age.
      The film world has seen it’s fair share of tragedy.
      Thanks for reading the Blog – I try to vary it both in style and content although inevitably it is easy to come back to familiar films or actors that we know and like. Neil

  2. Spaceflightengineer says:

    I just watched “War Arrow” with Ms. Ball last evening. She was super attractive, super feminine- I can see why her male leads became so taken with her. She had fine acting skills, in fact was fuin to watch in that movie. It’s the lot of our existence that our time here seems to be relegated to a toss of the dice. RIP Ms. Ball (…and Mr. Long).

    • Movieman says:

      Thanks for your comments on the very beautiful Suzan Ball. Out of interest I looked back again at her film career and she certainly played opposite some top actors and with top line directors too – so she would have a bright future ahead of her but sadly she left us at the very young age of 21. Her last film Chief Crazy Horse had Victor Mature playing the title role opposite Suzan Ball. It is such a sad story of such a lovely girl.

  3. Donnybrooke says:

    Did she spend any time at any of the nuclear testing sites?

    • Movieman says:

      Thanks for the comment. I really do not know the answer but your comment has made me think about that.

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