She was born in Scotland.
When she was a young girl, she had a strict "Victorian" grandmother who made her lie on her back, on the floor, for long periods of time, in order to "straighten her back" and ensure good posture.
She originally trained as a ballet dancer.
While on set, her co-star Robert Mitchum worried that she would be like the prim characters she frequently played. However, after she swore at their director during one take, Mitchum, who was in the water, almost drowned laughing. The two stars went on to have an enduring friendship which lasted until Mitchum's death in 1997.
Her most famous movie roles were as characters: Anna Leonowens, Terry McKay, and Karen Holmes.