Doe Avedon, Actress, Model and Inspiration of "Funny Face," Dies at 86 | Playbill

Obituaries Doe Avedon, Actress, Model and Inspiration of "Funny Face," Dies at 86
Doe Avedon, who was transformed by her Svengali husband, photographer Richard Avedon, into a model, and inspired the 1957 film musical "Funny Face," died Dec. 18 in Los Angeles. She was 86.

Born Dorcas Marie Nowell on April 7, 1925, in Old Westbury, NY, on Long Island, and an orphan by the age of 12, she met Avedon in the 1940s. They married in 1944, and he proceeded to turn her into a fashion beauty who went by the name Doe (for her deer-like eyes) Avedon.

The marriage collapsed after five years, but Ms. Avedon's career grew to encompass acting. She had roles in two Broadway shows of the late '40s, The Young and Fair and My Name Is Aquilon. She won a Theater World Award in 1949 for the former, a drama by N. Richard Nash, in which she played the mean girl at a college for young ladies.

Ms. Avedon later married the film director Don Siegel and had roles in the pictures "The High and the Mighty" (1954), starring John Wayne, and "Deep in My Heart," starring José Ferrer. In 1984, she acted in "Love Streams," directed by John Cassavetes.

"Funny Face"—in which a photographer played by Fred Astaire turns ugly duckling Audrey Hepburn into a beautiful model—came about through her friendship with Leonard Gershe, who would write the screenplay for the film.

Ms. Avedon, who lived in Los Angeles, is survived by four children from her marriage to Siegel; a stepson, Kristoffer Tabori; her longtime companion, Michael Liscio; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

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