Martha O’Driscoll Appleton, attractive actress of the 1940s who appeared in such films as “Judge Hardy and Son” and “The Secret of Dr. Kildare” and helped build the Appleton Museum of Art in Ocala, Fla., died Nov. 3 of unreported causes at her homenear Miami Beach. She was 76.
Appleton had more than 20 film credits as Martha O’Driscoll during the 1930s and ’40s. She appeared with Mickey Rooney in “Judge Hardy,” Lew Ayres in “Dr. Kildare,” William Holden in “Young and Willing” (Par, 1942) and Eddie Cantor in “Forty Little Mothers” (MGM, 1940).
She also appeared in horror and Western features including “Wagon Train” (RKO, 1940) and “House of Dracula” (U, 1945).
Following her marriage in 1947 to Chicago electronics magnate Arthur Appleton, she retired from the screen, raising four children.
She joined her husband and sister-in-law Edith-Marie to build the Appleton Museum of Art, which opened in 1987.
The couple also built in 1976 the 960-acre Bridlewood Farm in northwest Marion County, Fla., where they raised prize-winning horses.
Appleton, a native of Tulsa, Okla., modeled as a toddler and arrived in Hollywood as a 13-year-old making her film debut in “Collegiate” (Par, 1935).
In addition to her husband, she is survived by a daughter, three sons, a brother and 13 grandchildren.
Family suggests donations be made to the Appleton Museum of Art, , 4333 N.E. Silver Springs Blvd., Ocala, FL 34470-5000.