Gloria DeHaven dies at 91

DeHaven, the daughter of actor-director Carter DeHaven and actress, Flora Parker DeHaven has died on Saturday, July 31, in Las Vegas, her agent confirmed Monday. She was 91.

She began her career as a child actor with a bit part in Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times (1936). She was signed to a contract with MGM. Despite featured roles in such films as Best Foot Forward (1943), The Thin Man Goes Home (1944), Scene of the Crime (1949) and Summer Stock (1950), and being voted by exhibitors as the third most likely to be a “star of tomorrow'” in 1944, she did not achieve film stardom.

“Being under contract with MGM meant having everything done for you,” DeHaven told The Times in 1984. “There were doctors and dentists and tutors on the lot, at your beck and call, not to mention the best vocal teachers and hairdressers and costume designers.’’

DeHaven’s musical talents supplemented her acting abilities. Besides being cast as a singer in many of her films, including I’ll Get by, So This Is Paris and The Girl Rush, DeHaven sang with the bands of Jan Savitt and Bob Crosby and at one time had her own nightclub act.

DeHaven also appeared as a regular in the television series and soap operas Ryan’s Hope (as Bess Shelby), As the World Turns (as Sara Fuller), and Mary Hartman. She was one of the numerous celebrities enticed to appear in the all-star box office flop. On March 21,1974 Gloria appeared as a guest on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.

“Thanks to the soap I’ve gained an entire new, young audience who don’t know who the hell Gloria DeHaven is,” she told The Times in 1984. “They adore the character and like what I bring to the part. I mean, my major movies were in the 1940s and ’50s, before some of these viewers were even born.’’

“My own contemporaries are fascinated that I’ve begun this sort of second career; or should I say umpteenth career, since I’m 58 and have been in show business since I was born.”

DeHaven was married four times to three different men. Her first husband was actor John Payne, star of The Restless Gun television series, whom she married on December 28, 1944, and divorced in 1950. Her second husband was real estate developer Martin Kimmel; they were married June 21, 1953, and divorced the following year. She was married to Richard Fincher, son of a Miami Oldsmobile dealer, from 1957 until 1963; they remarried in 1965 and divorced again in 1969.

She has two children with Payne, daughter, Kathleen Hope (born 1945), and son, Thomas John Payne (born 1947), and two children with Fincher, son, Harry (born 1958), and daughter, Faith (born 1962).

DeHaven died on July 30, 2016 in Las Vegas, one week after her 91st birthday.

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