FILE UNDER -- Alpine

Clarita Heath Bright dies at 87; was on first Olympic alpine team

Clarita Heath Bright dies at 87; was on first Olympic alpine team{mosimage}USSA — Clarita Heath Bright, a U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame member who raced on the first U.S. Olympic alpine ski team in 1936, died Oct. 13 at her home in Brookline, Massachusetts. She was 87.

Born in Pasadena, California, she was an 18-year-old named Clarita Heath when she was named to the 1936 Olympic team. That year, alpine racing became an official Olympic sport with just one event, the combined, which included a run of downhill and two runs of slalom. She also raced in the 1937 World Championships and would go on to win the U.S. combined championship in 1942; Bright was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1968.

She learned to ski on a family trip to Kitzbuehel, Austria, and later was a ski instructor in Sun Valley, Idaho. She also coached Ingrid Bergman for ski scenes in the movie “Spellbound.” Bright continued to ski into her 80s.

Her late husband, Alex Bright, also was a member of that 1936 team, which competed in Garmisch, Germany, and was one of the earliest members elected to the Hall of Fame; he was inducted with the fourth group in 1959.

Clarita Heath Bright’s first husband, William Reiter, was a Navy pilot who died in the Pacific during World War II. She married Bright 16 years later and moved to the Boston area. She was survived by two daughters, a son and six grandchildren. A celebration of her life was scheduled for Oct. 28 at The Country Club in Brookline.

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