Margaret Ruth Draper dies

Was actress on radio soaps, DJ

Margaret Ruth Draper, an actress onstage and on radio and later a DJ, died of natural causes on Oct. 14. She was 94.

After performing as a child in Utah, she graduated from the U. of Utah, where she majored in dramatics, in 1934 and headed to New York, determined to break into theater. She landed her first job with the Provincetown Theater and subsequently became part of the Chekhov Theater Players under the direction of Michael Chekhov.

During WWII, Draper worked for two years for the Red Cross in Europe and the Middle East as a recreational director, then returned to New York to find work in radio and on Broadway. She appeared onstage in “Peer Gynt” and in supporting roles in two Broadway shows. Her first radio role, in 1947, was in the CBS program “Joe Powers of Oakville.” She played Liz Dennis in radio soap “Brighter Day” from 1949 until 1954, when she won the role of Linda Pepper in another radio drama, “Pepper Young’s Family,” starring Burgess Meredith.

During the early ’60s, she made her living doing TV and radio commercials in New York.

In 1966 Draper became a disc jockey for all-woman radio station WNEW-FM New York, and in 1969, she joined the United Seamen’s Service. Her first assignment was as the assistant director of the club in Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam. In 1970, the Vietnam club was closed because of the war, and she was transferred to the club in Naples, Italy as director, where she served until 1972.

Draper was married four times, the first to actor Joe DeSantis from 1949-57.

She is survived by a son and two sisters.

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