Osa Massen, 91; 1940s Danish-Born Actress Famous as Femme Fatale

From Times staff and wire reports

Osa Massen, 91, a Danish-born actress who often played the femme fatale in 1940s Hollywood films, died Jan. 2 at a convalescent home in Santa Monica while recovering from surgery.

Trained as a newspaper photographer, Massen wanted to become a film editor when Danish director Alice O’Fredericks persuaded her to act in the 1935 film “Kidnapped.” A second film led to a Hollywood contract.

When Massen made her American debut in “Honeymoon in Bali” (1939), several reviewers said she stole the film from its stars, Madeleine Carroll and Fred MacMurray, according to the All Movie Guide database. Her most memorable role may have been as the adulterous wife in the 1941 George Cukor film “A Woman’s Face.”

After she was continually confused with two other actresses -- Ona Munson and Ilona Massey -- Massen changed her name to Stefanie Paull for one film, “Million Dollar Weekend” (1948). For “Rocketship X-M” (1950), a sci-fi thriller that was among her best-known films, she was once again billed as Osa Massen.