'Mask of Zorro' star was 75

Actress-dancer Eugenia Strauss, who starred in ABC hit TV series “The Mark of Zorro,” died May 24 in West Palm Beach, Fla. She was 75.

Strauss played Elena Torres in “The Mark of Zorro.” She was featured in Frank La Tourette’s “Medic” with Richard Boone, “Death Valley Days” with Ronald Reagan, and in “The Lone Ranger.”

Born Eugenia Paul Popoff in Dearborn, Mich., the 17-year-old Strauss was on tour in Los Angeles with the American Ballet Theater and television show “Ballet Sketchbook” when she was discovered by Warner Bros. and signed as a dancer.

She studied drama with Michael Chekhov and ballet with Bronislava Nijinska, and danced professionally in leading roles before signing as an actress with 20th Century Fox in 1955.

She appeared in several films, from “The Ten Commandments” with Charlton Heston, to Abbott and Costello’s “Lost in Alaska” and “The Disembodied” with Paul Burke. TV credits include “Playhouse 90’s” version of “The Great Gatsby,” “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” and her last outing, 1960’s “Gunfighters of Abilene.”

While at a party at the Hollywood Bowl, she met and later married Bob Strauss, heir to the Pep Boys Auto Stores fortune, and quit showbiz.

She is survived by her husband of 52 years, Bob; two daughters and a son; plus three grandchildren.

Donations may be made to the Miami City Ballet, 2200 Liberty Ave., Miami Beach, FL 33139.

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