At first glance, Madlyn Rhue will be tagged as an average Hollywood actress whose career was largely limited to supporting or guest roles. However, she was much more than that. The prolific entertainer was a brave woman who courageously pursued her acting passion despite suffering from multiple sclerosis disease.
Rhue hid her diagnosis for several years in order to ensure that she could continue doing what she loved best. However, the debilitating disease caught up with her in 2003 when the American movie star gave up the ghost at the age of 68.
Madlyn Rhue was Single-handedly Raised by Her Mum
Madlyn Soloman Rhue was born and named Madeline Roche and has her date of birth recorded as the 3rd of October 1935 in Washington D.C. The actress hailed from a family of three comprising of her mom, who was a businesswoman, and an elder sister named Carol. Being born in the United States makes her an American national while her ethnicity is recorded as white.
Rhue’s dad bailed on the family when she was just a kid and consequently, the young entertainer and her sister were raised by their mom. Despite the family’s circumstances, the movie star’s mom was really a pillar in their lives, offering her unflinching support and always telling Madlyn that she was slated for something special in life. Alongside her sister, Madlyn spent her formative years in several cities including Baltimore before making a final stop in the city of angels, where she obtained a diploma from Los Angeles High School.
She First took the Stage as a Dancer in New York Before Launching Her Acting Career in LA
Though most of her career successes were recorded in Loss Angeles, Madlyn Rhue first worked in New York as a dancer in the Latin Quarters (the Copacabana night club) before moving back to LA in 1958; this was after she studied drama at the Loss Angeles City College.
Moving back to LA, Madlyn Rhue commenced her career in 1959 with minor parts in two movies; Operation Petticoat as Lieutenant Reid, NC, USAR, and The Miracle as a nun. After that humble debut, the Washington native went on to appear in numerous other movies including The Ladies Man where she was cast as Miss Intellect in 1961, the same year, she appeared in A Majority of One playing the role of Alice Black, Rhue gave expression to the character of Laila on the set of Escape From Zahrain in 1962 and portrayed Secretary Schwartz in It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World which came to light in 1963.
She joined the cast of He Rides Tall playing Ellie Daniels in 1964 and ended the 1960s with a role in Kenner as Anasuya in 1968. Madlyn moved into the 1970s depicting Gloria Seagar in Stand Up and Be Counted that was released in 1972. Before the advent of the 1990s, the famed actress already recorded over 20 films in her portfolio.
She was Quite Prolific on the Small Screen
We have seen dozens of TV series where Madlyn Rhue came as a guest star. She showed up in the 1960 episode of Bonanza, Day of Reckoning playing the spouse of Ricardo Montalbán’s character. Before the end of the year, the Washington native appeared in the Perry Mason episode The Case of the Wayward Wife depicting the character of Marian Ames. Her other 1960s appearances include the classic Star Trek episode Space Seed in 1967 where she came as Lt. Marla McGivers, the love interest of Khan Noonien Singh’s played by Ricardo Montalbán
She recorded other guest appearances on the sets of Cheyenne in 1955 and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour playing Consuela Sandino in the episode The Dark Pool, Rhue was part of Have Gun – Will Travel, Gunsmoke, Mason, The Untouchables, The Fugitive, and Ironside, Others include The Man from U.N.C.L.E., Mannix, The Wild Wild West, Mission: Impossible, Hawaii Five-O, Charlie’s Angels, and Fantasy Island. The TV movie Goldie and the Boxer featured her on set and she appeared on the game show The Match Game from 1974 to 76.
Rhue Continued Working After She was Diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis
Madlyn Rhue was involved in an automobile accident in the early 1960s, resulting in loss of teeth and a cut lower lip; this took her off acting for a while as he had to be hospitalized. Tragedy struck when the prolific actress was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1977; however, she continued taking on roles and made an appearance in Days of Our Lives.
Rhue was in dire need of a wheelchair as her condition deteriorated by 1985, this led to her taking roles in productions like Houston Knights and Murder, She Wrote where she wasn’t required to stand or walk.
The actress’ debilitating health condition prevented her from reprising her Lieutenant Marla McGivers role in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan in 1982 and consequently, director Nicholas Meyer had to write it out of the script Eventually, the disease made her completely incapacitated, putting a stop to her acting roles.
The Actress Didn’t have much in Fortune
One fallout of Rhue’s long battle with MS was that it drained most of her resources. In a 1987 interview, the actress disclosed that she used up all her savings in order to foot her medical bills. It got to the extent that she had no extra money to spend on herself and had to rely on Christmas/Birthday gifts in order to get new clothes.
Rhue also had to rely on the benevolence of her friends to get the necessary equipment she needed such as a motorized wheelchair. Given all the above, the actress didn’t have much in fortune left at the time of her demise.
Her Marriage with Tony Young
During her lifetime, Madlyn Rhue was the wife of Tony Young. Young was a character actor and appeared in many movies and TV series, notable among them are Overland Trail, Gunslinger, General Hospital, Bonanza, He Rides Tall with Rhue, Taggert, Gemini Man, Spider-Woman, and Knight Rider. Along with Madlyn, Tony appeared on Star Trek: The Original Series in 1966.
Though the details of their relationship were never captured, it is common knowledge that Rhue and Young tied the knot in 1962 which made her the daughter-in-law of Carleton G. Young. They were married for eight years before divorcing in 1970. Sadly, the couple’s union did not produce any kids and the actress didn’t have any child until her death in 2003.
Madlyn Rhue Died at the Age of 68
Madlyn Rhue fought a long battle with multiple sclerosis during her lifetime. MS is a disease caused by damages to the nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. It results in serious after-effects such as blurred vision, speech, and muscle coordination impairment, as well as severe fatigue. Rhue first noticed that something was wrong with her body in 1976. The actress was shopping when she passed out; urinating and vomiting in the process. After the incident, her movements became clumsy and her vision got blurry. The actress consulted her doctors and after much examination, she was diagnosed with MS in 1977. The disease progressed from a point when she couldn’t wear high heels to a stage where she had to use walking canes. She finally had to resort to a wheelchair when things got worse.
At first, Madlyn Rhue kept her diagnosis a secret as it would have affected her ability to get the needed insurance for working in a movie. She, therefore, made several excuses, telling people that she was involved in an accident or that she had an arthritic hip. Rhue finally disclosed her diagnosis in 1987. She received support from several of her peers including people like Angela Lansbury who wrote characters specifically for her. She also featured in a national Ad campaign for The Multiple Sclerosis Society.
As the disease progressed, the actress checked into a long-term care facility at The Motion Picture and TV Fund Hospital, L.A. She remained there from 1998 until she passed away, from pneumonia, on the 16th of December 2003 at the age of 68. Following Rhue’s demise, a private funeral was held for her, and sympathizers were urged to make donations to the hospital where she had lived out the rest of her life.