Dana Wynter, a lissome beauty who won an enduring place in film history as the imperiled heroine of the low-budget science-fiction movie “Invasion of the Body Snatchers,” died May 5 of congestive heart failure at a hospital in Ojai, Calif. She was 79.
Ms. Wynter had minor stage and film experience in England before her coolly elegant good looks won her the attention of Hollywood talent scouts. “Body Snatchers,” a 1956 thriller about alien pods that take over human bodies, was one of her first leading roles.
“Body Snatchers” was met with a shrug at the time of its release but has since become highly regarded. Its plot, about the soul-killing pod people, was later viewed as a clever parable about mindless conformity and the anti-communist witch hunts of the 1950s. In 1994, the Library of Congress elected to preserve the movie in the National Film Registry.
Adding to the film’s reputation was taut direction by Don Siegel, who generated suspense without violence or special effects — a rarity for the genre. The script was literate, and its talented cast included Kevin McCarthy, who died in September, and Carolyn Jones.