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I Passed for White (1960)

Not Rated | | Drama | 18 March 1960 (USA)
A young girl meets and marries the man of her dreams--only she hasn't told him that she is half-black, and he and his rich family and friends are white.


Fred M. Wilcox


Mary Hastings Bradley (novel), Fred M. Wilcox (screenplay)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Sonya Wilde ... Bernice Lee / Lila Brownell
James Franciscus ... Rick Leyton
Patricia Michon ... Sally Roberts (as Pat Michon)
Elizabeth Council ... Ann Leyton
Griffin Crafts Griffin Crafts ... Mr. Leyton
Isabel Cooley ... Bertha (as Isabelle Cooley)
Jimmy Lydon ... Jay Morgan (as James Lydon)
Thomas Browne Henry Thomas Browne Henry ... Dr. Merritt (as Thomas B. Henry)
Max Mellinger Max Mellinger ... Mr. Gordon
Phyllis Cole Phyllis Cole ... Nurse
Calvin Jackson Calvin Jackson ... Eddie - in Dance School
Lon Ballantyne Lon Ballantyne ... Chuck
Temple Hatton Temple Hatton ... Eddie - Friend of Bernice
Freita Shaw Freita Shaw ... Gram
Edmund Hashim ... Club Patron (as Ed Hashim)


A young girl meets and marries the man of her dreams--only she hasn't told him that she is half-black, and he and his rich family and friends are white.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Now...What Will My Baby Be? See more »




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Did You Know?


Ann Leyton: She's not natural. She's like a cat in a strange attic.
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Featured in Sleazemania on Parade (1992) See more »

User Reviews

Passes for Addictive Melodrama
29 August 2020 | by TheFearmakersSee all my reviews

I PASSED FOR WHITE, one of those title-says-it-all kinda movies, is much better than you'd think. Thanks to the gorgeous Sonya Wilde, who has wonderful acting skills... what a shame she only appeared in a handful of television guest spots thereafter, mostly playing Native Americans on Westerns.

Wilde plays Bernice Lee - her hip brother blows sax at a club and her grandmother has words of wisdom, but no real answers, for what's really troubling Bernice. She can't keep a job when the employers find out she's part black... It was the early sixties, after all.

She decides to become Lila and, on a plane to another state and another life, she meets handsome businessman James Franciscus as Rick Leyton. After a windswept romance they get married. Of course he doesn't realize her secret and the rest of the film has the John "Johnny" Williams's score blasting whenever anyone almost discovers her ruse: especially Rick's pesky mother, continuously asking to meet Bernice's parents.

Wilde handles the melodrama perfectly and reaches for lies about her phantom family better than a lifelong politician. The tension builds nicely between the newlyweds, who make real sparks when times are good. Although Wilde looks so white, the audience won't always share in the controversy of a mixed couple relationship. If it weren't for that pounding soundtrack you might forget what she's so worried about in the first place.

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Release Date:

18 March 1960 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

I Passed for White See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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