Actress Katherine Locke, who established herself in Broadway’s “Having a Wonderful Time” and was critically acclaimed in the role of Shakespeare’s Ophelia, died Sept. 12 in Los Angeles of a brain tumor. She was 85.
Locke, wife of writer-director-producer Norman Corwin, became the toast of Broadway’s 1937 season when she starred opposite John Garfield in the Arthur Kober comedy “Having a Wonderful Time.” She followed that role playing Ophelia in the Maurice Evans production of “Hamlet.”
Other Broadway plays included “Fifth Column” with Lee Cobb and “Clash by Night” with Tallulah Bankhead.
She also appeared in the films “The Seventh Cross” (1944), “The Snake Pit” (1948), “Try and Get Me” (1951), “People Will Talk” (1951), “Flesh and Fury” (1952) and “A Certain Smile” (1958).
Born in Russia, Locke grew up on the East Coast and was sent to the Damrosch Academy in New York by her family, who wanted her to become a concert pianist.
Instead, she fled to L.A., where she joined a group of young actors called the Potboilers appearing at the Theatre Mart. She also worked as a movie extra while learning her craft on stage.
She made her debut in the 1928 play “The Joy of the Serpents,” and appeared in numerous other plays, including “Firebird,” “Baloon,” “The Late Christopher Bean,” “Halfway to Hell,” “Crime and Punishment” and “If a Body.”
In addition to her husband, Locke is survived by a son, Anthony Corwin of Thousand Oaks, Calif., and a daughter, Diane Okarski of Spokane, Wash.