Margaret Vandegrift, a model turned actress who appeared in a handful of films during the late 1930s, died March 24 of natural causes at her home in Beverly Hills. She was 86.Born Margaret Patricia Lynam in Brooklyn, the beauty graduated from Erasmus Hall High School in 1934 and shortly thereafter signed on as a Powers model. She moved to Los Angeles in 1936 at the behest of MGM casting director Bill Grady, who selected her for the famed “A Pretty Girl Is Like a Melody” scene in the Metro musical opus “The Great Ziegfeld.” Additional film credits included “Small Town Girl” (1936), starring James Stewart; 1937′s “Thin Ice,” with Tyrone Power and Sonja Henie; and “Live, Love and Learn” (1937), with Mickey Rooney and Rosalind Russell. In 1938 she married real estate entrepreneur Byron Vandegrift and together they built, purchased and sold numerous homes from Toluca Lake to Beverly Hills, Brentwood, Bel-Air and Malibu before his death in 1993. She is survived by her daughter and son. In lieu of flowers, family suggest donations in her name be made to The Colleague Memorial Fund, c/o the Colleagues, Bergamont Station, 2525 Michigan Ave., Santa Monica, CA 90404.
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