Broke into films in 1943 as the sole contract star of a new production company, B-H Productions, established by actor Charles Boyer and director Howard Hawks. She later signed with Universal Pictures.
She was a lifelong Republican and anti-communist who was a solid supporter of Dwight D. Eisenhower, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, and Ronald Reagan.
Her second husband, Robin Olds, was a famous fighter pilot. Son of a World War I pilot, Olds was an ace (shot down 12 enemy aircraft) in WWII and 4 in Vietnam. They separated in 1975 and were divorced in 1976. Ella moved back to Hollywood and lived in Sherman Oaks until her death in 1988. She is survived by two daughters, Christina Eloise Olds of Vail, Colorado and Susan Olds Scott-Risner of North Bend, Washington and a granddaughter, Jennifer Newman of Santa Monica, CA.
Cousin of Gore Vidal.
She retired in 1956 after filming The Man in the Road (1956)