Anne Gwynne, blonde starlet of several Universal horror films of the 1940’s, died March 31 from complications of a stroke. She was 84.
Born in Waco, Texas and raised in San Antonio and St. Louis, Gwynne studied drama under actress Maude Adams. When she moved to Los Angeles, she became a Catalina swimsuit model before signing a contract with Universal, without a screen test.
Gwynne’s breakthrough was in 1939 oater “Oklahoma Frontier.” She then entered the sci-fi and horror genres, playing Lady Sonja in “Flash Gordon Conquers the Universe” as well as roles in “Black Friday,” “The Black Cat,” “The Strange Case of Dr. Rx,” and “House of Frankenstein.”
Gwynne continued her rise with starring roles in “We’ve Never Been Licked” and with Loretta Young in “Ladies Courageous.” Her best known role was opposite Abbott and Costello in “Ride ‘Em Cowboy.” She also became a popular pinup girl during World War II.
Following her departure from Universal, Gwynne played Tess Truheart in “Dick Tracy Meets Gruesome” and starred in “Panhandle,” the first pic penned by Blake Edwards.
Her final role was as Michael Douglas’ mother in 1970’s “Adam at 6 a.m.”
She married Max Gilford in 1945 and was widowed in 1965. She is survived by her son Gregory; her daughter Gwynne Gilford and son-in-law Robert Pine, both thesps; and two grandchildren. Donations to the Motion Picture & Television Fund at (818) 876-1900.