Vera Dunn O’Connor, legit actress of the 1920s and ’30s who made a splash on Broadway in Cole Porter’s “Anything Goes,” died July 11 of natural causes in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. She was 89.
Raised in the proverbial show business trunk, she performed as a youngster with her vaudevillian parents, Jimmy Dunn and Helen Marlowe Dunn. At age 9, she appeared as a boy in George M. Cohan’s “Zander the Great” with Alice Brady. Her big break came in 1923 when she appeared with Ann Harding in the play “Stolen Fruit.”
Between 1923 and the early 1930s, she appeared in numerous vaudeville dance productions with Benny Davis and Georgie Jessel. Her parents sent her to the Children’s Professional School for her studies and training.
In 1934 she was cast as the gangster gun moll Bonnie La Tour in Porter’s hit Broadway show “Anything Goes.” She became a favorite of journo Walter Winchell and was mentioned in his column numerous times during the run of the show.
She also appeared in Porter’s “Leave It to Me.”
She left show business soon after, married George O’Connor and began a new career in cosmetics, managing the Fifth Avenue Revlon Salon in Manhattan. She eventually occupied executive posts in the cosmetic field, continuing in the field after the family moved to Florida in the 1960s and after she returned to that profession following an early retirement.
She is survived by a son and grandson.