Phyllis Brooks Macdonald, a popular film and stage actress in the 1930s and 1940s and the widow of long-time Massachusetts congressman Torbert Macdonald, died Aug. 1 in Cape Neddick, Maine. She was 80.
Macdonald started her career as an artist’s model in New York. Hollywood discovered her in 1934 as the “Ipana Toothpaste Girl.” She appeared in the Shirley Temple films “Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm” and “Little Miss Broadway,” in Sidney Toler’s Charlie Chan series and in several other movies.
On Broadway, she appeared in the George S. Kaufman-Edna Farber play “Stage Door” in 1936 and the Ethel Merman hit musical “Panama Hattie” in 1940.
The actress was once engaged to Cary Grant. Instead, in 1945, she married Torbert Macdonald, who was elected to Congress in 1954. He served 11 straight terms until his death in 1976.