Frances Rafferty

Actress

Actress Frances Rafferty died of natural causes April 18 in Paso Robles, Calif. She was 81.

Rafferty was a B movie glamour girl in the 1940s and appeared on television shows in the 1950s. She played Spring Byington’s daughter in long-running sitcom “December Bride.”

Among Rafferty’s best-known films was the 1943 “Girl Crazy,” in which she starred with Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland. She is also remembered for her perf in the 1944 film version of Pearl Buck’s “Dragon Seed,” in which she played a girl who is raped and murdered.

Born in Sioux City, Iowa, Rafferty moved to Los Angeles with her family in 1931. After a stint as a dancer ended with a fall on the Hollywood Bowl stage, she turned to acting and also became a favorite World War II pinup.

She churned out wartime B movies such as “Hitler’s Madman,” “Thousands Cheer” and “Swing Shift Maisie” and later appeared in “Rodeo,” “Lady at Midnight” and “The Shanghai Story.”

She appeared in early TV dramatic anthology series such as “Alcoa Theater,” then landed the role on “December Bride,” which ran from 1954-61.

The actress largely retired from both the large and small screens in 1961 after the brief run of a “December Bride” spinoff, “Pete and Gladys,” starring Harry Morgan. She continued to play occasional roles on such series as “The Streets of San Francisco” into the 1970s.

She is survived by her husband, Thomas R. Baker, and two children.

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