Pamela Tiffin, Movie Star Who Shone Brightly but Briefly, Dies at 78


The year before, she had been cast as Mastroianni’s wife in “Oggi, Domani, Dopodomani” (1965), a comedy about a man trying to sell his wife to a harem. After great reluctance and considerable argument, she agreed to become blond for the role.

She found that she liked the new look, and she kept it as she began making films in Italy. She appeared in at least a dozen, including “The Archangel” (1969), a crime comedy with Vittorio Gassman, and “The Fifth Cord” (1971), a crime thriller with Franco Nero. After a decade and a half in retirement she made her final screen appearance in “Quattro Storie di Donne” (1989), an Italian mini-series.

The official story was that she gave up acting to raise a family, but Ms. Tiffin told Tullio Kezich, the author of “Cinema Dolce,” that she really made the decision because Italian films were becoming so erotic. Every job interview, she said, seemed to degenerate into a discussion of whether she would appear nude or at least partly nude onscreen. Luckily, she had saved her money and knew she could survive.

Her last American film had been “Viva Max” (1969), a comedy about a 20th-century Mexican general who wants to recapture the Alamo. Parts of it were filmed in Rome, for her convenience.

In 1962, Ms. Tiffin married Clay Felker, then an editor at Esquire magazine. A year later he became the founding editor of New York, The Herald Tribune’s Sunday supplement, which later became New York magazine. He edited the magazine until 1977, while the marriage, not as long-lived, ended in divorce in 1969, after a long separation.

“We still love each other,” Ms. Tiffin told Earl Wilson, the syndicated columnist. “We still have dinner. But life, it seems, is not a Doris Day movie.”



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