Audrey Totter, 95, who specialized in playing temptresses, dangerous dames, and women harboring dark schemes in a series of movies from Hollywood's film noir period of the 1940s and '50s, died Dec. 12 at a hospital in Woodland Hills, Calif.

She had congestive heart failure after a stroke, her daughter, Mea Lane, said.

She first set the screen afire with a small but sizzling part in the 1946 noir classic The Postman Always Rings Twice. When her car breaks down, she steps out as John Garfield offers to look under the hood. "I'm going to wait standing up," her character says. "It's a hot day and that's a leather seat. And I've got on a thin skirt."

Over the next several years, she was in demand as one of Hollywood's most alluring actresses.

"I had great parts," she said in 2001, "but the pictures just didn't catch on." Only later was she recognized as one of film noir's biggest stars.

In 1953, she married Leo Fred, a doctor and assistant dean of the UCLA School of Medicine. He died in 1995.

Her final acting role came in 1987, when she appeared on an episode of Angela Lansbury's Murder, She Wrote.

- Los Angeles Times