Dorothy Granger, a screen and television actress, died Jan. 4 of cancer at her home in Los Angeles. She was 83.
Born into a Ohio vaudeville family, she won a beauty contest in Texas when she was 13. She built her acting experience on the road with touring companies and made her film debut in “The Sophomore” in 1929, the year she arrived in Hollywood.
Soon after she found work at the Hal Roach comedy studio as part of the cast of “The Boy Friends” series and she also worked with Charley Chase, Harry Langdon, and Laurel and Hardy in three of their two-reelers, including “The Laurel-Hardy Murder Case.”
By the early 1930s, she was established as a featured player in two-reel comedies and worked steadily in shorts for Columbia, Educational, RKO and Mack Sennett, where she had a prominent part in W.C. Fields’ classic comedy “The Dentist.” She was eventually cast as Leon Errol’s wife in his long-running series of RKO two-reel comedies and continued with him until his death in 1951.
A voluptuous redhead, Granger was frequently cast as a prostitute or madam and played such parts in “Gone With the Wind” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Usually playing small supporting roles, her film credits include “Back Street,” “Sign of the Cross,” “Only Yesterday,” “Hips Hips Hooray,” “The Merry Widow,” “Naughty Marietta,” “Show Boat,” “Romeo and Juliet,” “Camille,” “Dramatic School,” “Practically Yours,” “Adventure,” “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty,” “The Paleface,” “Westward the Women” and “Raintree County.”
In the 1950s she worked often in television, in such series as “The Abbott and Costello Show,” “I Married Joan,” “Father Knows Best,” “Lassie,” “The Jack Benny Show” and “Death Valley Days.”
For more than forty years, she operated an L.A.-based upholstery store that serviced celebrities in Hollywood.
Her last public appearance was in 1993 when the Screen Actors Guild honored its charter members who had been issued membership cards when SAG was founded sixty years earlier.
She is survived by her husband, a brother and two nieces.