LOS ANGELES -- Alexis Smith, 72, the statuesque actress who co-starred with Cary Grant, Clark Gable and Errol Flynn in the 1940s and '50s and made a comeback in a Tony Award-winning performance in "Follies," died from yesterday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
She was still in college when a talent scout spotted her and got her a screen test for Warner Bros. Between 1940 and 1959, she appeared as lead or second lead in such films as "Dive Bomber," "The Doughgirls" and "The Woman in White."
The high point of her career came on stage and a decade after she had largely retired. In 1971, she scored a personal triumph in "Follies," an ambitious Stephen Sondheim musical about the reunion of aging showgirls in a soon-to-be-demolished Broad
way theater. The performance won her a Tony Award as best actress in a musical.
She was in several film biographies: "Night and Day" (Cole Porter); "The Adventures of Mark Twain"; and "Rhapsody in Blue" (George Gershwin). Miss Smith appeared on Broadway in another big musical, "Platinum," in 1978. She got great reviews, but the show was a bomb.
In 1984, she had a small recurring role in the TV prime-time soap "Dallas." In 1988, she was in the short-lived TV drama "Hothouse."
Born in Canada and reared in Los Angeles, she trained as a dancer and attended Los Angeles City College. It was there that a Warner Bros. scout spotted her in a campus production.
In 1944, she married Craig Stevens, who played the title role in the 1950s television series "Peter Gunn."