Though she performed in numerous films that featured top talent both behind and in front of the camera, actress Cathy O'Donnell is best remembered for her first major part, in the Academy Award-winning post-World War II drama, "The Best Years of Our Lives. " O'Donnell studied at Oklahoma City University before heading to Hollywood to pursue acting. A chance meeting with an agent led to an introduction to film icon Samuel Goldwyn, who saw something in O'Donnell but felt she needed further training. He sent her to study at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York, urging her to lose her Southern accent. After gaining a bit of stage experience, she appeared in the Goldwyn-produced all-star ensemble picture "The Best Years of Our Lives" as the fiancée of double-amputee WWII veteran Harold Russell. Though the film was enormously successful, O'Donnell's subsequent roles didn't make her a star, despite a number of quality pictures. She played opposite Farley Granger in two classic noirs, "They Live by Night" and "Side Street." She supported Kirk Douglas in "Detective Story" and was Jimmy Stewart's love interest in "The Man from Laramie." At the tail end of the '50s, she played her last major film role, as Charlton Heston's sister in the epic "Ben-Hur."