Fay Spain was an American actress who appeared in many films and television shows in the 1950s and 1960s. She is best known for her role as Mrs. Marcia Roth, the wife of the fictional mobster Hyman Roth, in the 1974 epic crime drama film The Godfather Part II. However, her life and career were cut short by a deadly disease that claimed her life at the age of 50. Here is the story of Fay Spain’s cause of death and how she battled with lymphatic cancer.
Fay Spain’s Early Life and Career
Fay Spain was born Lona Fay Spain on October 6, 1932, in Phoenix, Arizona. She was the younger of two daughters born to Robert C. Spain and Arminta Frances “Mickie” Cochran. When she was 17 years old, she worked as a dealer in a casino in Reno, Nevada. Years later, she said, “I lied about my age and got a job as a dealer – and made big money, much more than my husband, who was a shill.”
She married John Falvo, a screenwriter and actor, when she was 16. They had one son, Jock Falvo (born 1954), and divorced in 1954. She then pursued an acting career, unimpeded by rejection. She accepted any parts that came along, learning the techniques of the acting trade.
She made her television debut in the series Big Town in 1955. She also guest-starred in many other shows, such as Cheyenne, Dragnet, Perry Mason, The Fugitive, and Gunsmoke. She made her film debut in the 1957 action drama film Dragstrip Girl, in which she played Louise Blake, a girl who loves hot cars and rich guys racing cars. She also appeared in other films, such as The Abductors, Teenage Doll, The Crooked Circle, God’s Little Acre, Al Capone, The Private Lives of Adam and Eve, Hercules and the Captive Women, Black Gold, Thunder Island, Flight to Fury, and Welcome to Hard Times.
Fay Spain’s Role in The Godfather Part II
Fay Spain’s most memorable role was as Mrs. Marcia Roth in The Godfather Part II. She played the wife of Hyman Roth (Lee Strasberg), a Jewish mobster who is based on the real-life gangster Meyer Lansky. In the film, Roth is an old friend and ally of Vito Corleone (Marlon Brando), but he secretly plots to assassinate his son Michael Corleone (Al Pacino), who has taken over the family business.
Spain’s character is a loyal and devoted wife who accompanies Roth to Cuba, where he plans to expand his gambling empire with the help of Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista. However, their scheme is foiled by the Cuban Revolution of 1959, which forces them to flee the country. Roth suffers a heart attack and is taken to a hospital in Miami. There, he is visited by Michael, who confronts him about his betrayal and attempts to kill him. However, Michael’s bodyguard is shot by a Cuban assassin hired by Roth before he can pull the trigger.
Spain’s role was small but significant in the film. She portrayed a woman who loved her husband despite his criminal activities and who stood by him until his death. She also showed compassion for Michael when he visited Roth at the hospital. She told him that Roth had always admired him and that he had never wanted anything but friendship from him.
Fay Spain’s Cause of Death
Fay Spain died of lymphatic cancer in Los Angeles on May 8, 1983. She was only 50 years old. Lymphatic cancer is a type of cancer that affects the lymphatic system, which is part of the immune system that helps fight infections and diseases. Lymphatic cancer can cause symptoms such as swollen lymph nodes, fever, night sweats, weight loss, fatigue, and pain.
Spain had been diagnosed with lymphatic cancer in 1981 and had undergone chemotherapy and radiation treatments. However, her condition worsened and she succumbed to the disease two years later. She was survived by her son Jock Falvo and her fourth husband Philip Fulmer, whom she had married in 1968.
Fay Spain was a talented actress who left behind a legacy of memorable performances in film and television. She was also a courageous woman who fought against cancer until the end. She will always be remembered as Mrs. Marcia Roth in The Godfather Part II and as one of Hollywood’s stars who died too young.