1970s Actress Dies After ‘Possible Stroke’: Betty Anne Rees Was 81

Actress Betty Ann Rees has died. Most known for the 1970s movies The Unholy Rollers and Sugar Hill, Rees passed away on Monday, June 3 at her home in Hemet, California, her niece, Kathleen Louks, told The Hollywood Reporter. According to Loucks, Rees had a series of falls and even a possible stroke that contributed to her death at 81. In the early 1990s, she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

Born Elizabeth Anne Rees on Apr. 14, 1943 in Shaker Heights, Ohio, the actress attended the University of Miami, later studying acting at the Pasadena Playhouse. In the late '60s, she appeared in projects such as Shane, Adam-12, The Cool Ones, and Banning. While in LA, Rees also appeared on early episodes of General Hospital and The Doctors. She had a steady career in TV in the 1970s, appearing on Medical Center, To Rome with Love, Mod Squad, My Three Sons, and The Smith Family. In 1972, she starred in the film The Unholy Rollers as Mickey Martinez.

Another big film that Reese starred in in the '70s is Paul Maslansky's Sugar Hill in 1974. She played a mobster's racist girlfriend named Celeste. Other shows that Rees appeared on throughout the decade include The Magician, S.W.A.T., The F.B.I., The Streets of San Francisco, Lou Grant, Barnaby Jones, and This is the Life. Rees' final role was as Molly Margo in a Season 2 episode of The Incredible Hulk in 1978.

After retiring from acting, Bety Ann Rees was still as creative and busy as ever. She ran Gloria Marshall Figure Salons as well as designed kitchens, and created a corporate gag gift in the '80s called the "Executive Teething Ring." While she never married, her niece admitted she had a romance with then-Cleveland Browns owner Art Modell in the 1960s.

Rees is survived by her niece; her sister, Barbara; her nephew, Brian; and her cats, Honey Bear and Lovely, who are looking for a home. Those interested are urged to email Katherine Louks at [email protected]. While Rees hadn't acted in a few decades, she surely made her mark in the 1970s, no matter how big or small the role was. Considering she was diagnosed with MS in the 1990s, it's likely she would have retired from acting at some point later in her career when it was too much to handle.