Joan Leslie, Star of ‘Sergeant York’ and ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy,’ Dies at 90

Joan Leslie Caldwell, best known by her stage name of Joan Leslie, has died at age 90.

The actress starred in over 30 films — her breakout role came at the age of 15, when she appeared in “High Sierra” with Humphrey Bogart. Some of Leslie’s most notable roles came before the actress was 18; she starred alongside Gary Cooper in “Sergeant York” and celebrated her 17th birthday on the set of “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” in which she played the wife of James Cagney.

Leslie also appeared in films such as “The Sky’s the Limit,” “Thank Your Lucky Stars,” “Rhapsody in Blue,” “This is the Army,” “Cinderella Jones,” “Hollywood Canteen” and “Repeat Performance.”

Born in Detroit, Michigan on January 26, 1925, Leslie’s career began when her family relocated to Burbank, after Leslie’s older sister Mary was signed to a contract at MGM. Her first role was an uncredited part in George Cukor’s “Camille” at age 11.

After marrying physician William G. Caldwell in 1950, Leslie shifted her focus to family, with occasional appearances on television shows and in commercials. She appeared in TV movies such as “Charley Hannah” and “Fire in the Dark,” along with series including “Charlie’s Angels,” “The Incredible Hulk,” “Simon and Simon” and “Murder She Wrote.”

Leslie died on Oct. 12 in Los Angeles, her family announced. Funeral mass will be celebrated at 10:00 am on October 19 at Our Mother of Good Counsel Church.

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