Gloria DeHaven, an actress and ingénue who played squeaky clean love interests in a series of series of films and movie musicals in the 1940s, died July 30 in Las Vegas. She was 91.
The daughter of vaudevillians, she began her career as a child, and had an early bit part in Charlie Chaplin’s classic 1936 silent, Modern Times, on which her father, Carter DeHaven, served as assistant director.
By 1940, she was getting bigger parts in films like Susan and God and Keeping Company. Among her most notable credits were Best Food Forward (1943), The Thin Man Goes Home (1944), Step Lively (1943), in which she starred opposite a young Frank Sinatra, the Gene Kelly musical Summer Stock (1950) and Three Little Words (1950). In the latter, a fictionalized bio-pic about the Tin Pan Alley songwriting team of Harry Ruby and Bert Kalmer, she got to play her mother, actress Flora Parker DeHaven. Despite a busy schedule, she never quite achieved full-fledged stardom.
She did a brief turn on Broadway in 1955 in the musical Seventh Heaven. Other stage credits from the 1950s include The Unsinkable Molly Brown, The Sound of Music and Golden Boy.
She had numerous television credits, doing guest shots of such programs as The Rifleman, Marcus Welby, M.D., Gunsmoke, Mannix, Fantasy Island, Hart to Hart, The Love Boat and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. She was a regular on the soap operas Ryan’s Hope and As The World Turns. Late film roles include Out to Sea, Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood and Bog.
She was married four times, twice to the same man, Richard W. Fincher. Actor John Payne was her first husband. She is survived by four children: sons Thomas Payne and Harry Fincher, and daughters, Kathleen Hope Payne and Faith Fincher-Finkelstein.