Gloria DeHaven, Star of Golden Age Movie Musicals, Dies at 91

Gloria DeHaven dead
Ernest Jones / Associated Newspapers /REX/Shutterstock

Gloria DeHaven, who starred in classic movie musicals in the 1940s and ’50s — mostly for MGM, has died. She was 91.

The actress died Saturday in hospice care in Las Vegas, after suffering a stroke several months ago, her agent told Reuters.

“With Gloria DeHaven’s passing, we have lost another precious link to the classical cinema of yesteryear. Gloria was a talented actor and singer, and she will be sorely missed,” said SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris.

DeHaven, who’s career spanned six decades, embodied Hollywood’s Golden Age with her spunk and charisma.

She made her big-screen debut as a child, playing Paulette Goddard’s younger sister, in Charlie Chaplin’s last silent movie, 1936’s “Modern Times.” DeHaven starred in more than two dozen films, including her breakout role in Lucille Ball’s “Best Foot Forward” (1943); “Two Girls and a Sailor” (1944) with Van Johnson, June Allyson, and Jimmy Durante; “Step Lively” (1944) with Frank Sinatra, giving him his first on-screen kiss; “Summer Holiday” (1948) starring Mickey Rooney; “Summer Stock” (1950) toplined by Judy Garland and Gene Kelly; and Fred Astaire’s “Three Little Words” (1950).

She later transitioned to TV work, with roles on the soap operas “As the World Turns,” “Ryan’s Hope,” and “All My Children.”

Her final film appearance was in the 1997 Jack Lemmon-Walter Matthau romantic comedy “Out to Sea,” while her last TV role came three years later on CBS’ “Touched by an Angel.”

DeHaven was married four times, including to actor John Payne and twice to businessman Richard Fincher. She is survived by four children.

A memorial service will be held in her honor on Aug. 20 at 10:30 a.m. at St. Monica’s Catholic Church in Santa Monica, Calif.