The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California on June 5, 2004 · Page 105
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The Los Angeles Times from Los Angeles, California · Page 105

Los Angeles, California
Issue Date:
Saturday, June 5, 2004
Page 105
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ME_B_15_B15_SF_1_06-05-04_sa_1_CMYK 2004:06:04:21:38:52 Obituaries CALIFORNIA SF SATURDAY,JUNE5,2004 B15 LOSANGELESTIMES By Dennis McLellan Times Staff Writer Irene Manning, an elegantly beautiful blond lyric soprano best known for her roles in the 1940s film musicals “Yankee Doodle Dandy” and “The Desert Song,” has died. She was 91. Manning, whose married name was Hunter, died of congestive heart failure May 28 at her home in San Carlos, Calif., said her stepdaughter, Peggy Shafer. The classically trained singer was billed as Hope Manning when she made her film debut as Gene Autry’s nightclub singer love interest in the 1936 Republic horse opera “The Old Corral.” Manning had two other Republic films to her credit when she was signed to a contract at Warner Bros. in the early 1940s. By then, she had played leading roles with the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera and others, including appearing opposite the popular operatic baritone John Charles Thomas, with whom she made a series of Gilbert and Sullivan light opera recordings. At Warner Bros., Manning most notably played a supporting role as turn- of-the-century Broadway star Fay Templeton in “Yankee Doodle Dandy,” the 1942 musical-drama starring James Cagney as the legendary George M. Cohan. Manning sang three songs in the film: “Mary’s a Grand Old Name,” “45 Minutes From Broadway” and “So Long, Mary.” She also appeared opposite Dennis Morgan in “The Desert Song,” a 1943 musical based on the Sigmund Romberg operetta; co-starred with Humphrey Bogart in the 1942 crime-drama “The Big Shot”; and appeared in “Shine On, Harvest Moon,” a 1944 musical starring Morgan and Ann Sheridan. “The quality that Irene Manning had was that of a patrician beauty with an exquisite singing voice,” said Miles Kreuger,president of the Los Angeles- based Institute of the American Musical. But, he said, Manning’s “more elegant, more reserved” on-screen persona was out of sync during the war years, when audiences tended to prefer “young girls who were perky and more accessible in some fashion,” such as Betty Grable. “I think that may be why she didn’t catch on a little bit more,” Kreuger said. Indeed, by the end of 1945, Manning’s contract days at Warners Bros. were over. The youngest of fivechildren, she was born Inez Harvuotin Cincinnati on July 17, 1912. In a 2003 interview with the movie publication Classic Images, she recalled: “From the time I was a little girl, Iloved to sing. I was always singing. In fact, I was found singing in my sleep when I was 2. Our next-door neighbors heard me and told my mother. They went upstairs and I was singing ‘The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia’ in my sleep.” Her family moved to Los Angeles when she was 10, and after graduating from Los Angeles High School, she studied voice on a scholarship at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, N.Y. Manning, who appeared as herself in the 1944 film “Hollywood Canteen,” toured the United States and England with her own four-woman USO unit during the war. While in England, she recorded four songs in German, including “Begin the Beguine” and “Mary’s a Grand Old Name,” with Glenn Miller’s Army Air ForcesBand. The songs, which were recorded for the Office of War Information a month before Miller disappeared over the English Channel on Dec. 15, 1944, were broadcast between propaganda an- nouncements to German troops on the BBC’s “The German Wehrmacht Hour.” “She was a dear lady,” said Ed Polic, ahistorian who interviewed Manning for his 1989 book, “The Glenn Miller Army Air ForceBand,” and kept in touch with her. Manning’s operatic voice “is not the kind of voice you’d use normally with a dance band,” Polic said, “but she comes through very well” in the four recordings, which are included on the RCA two-CD set “Glenn Miller ...The Lost Recordings.” In late 1945, after leaving Warner Bros., Manning opened on Broadway as one of the leads in Lerner and Loewe’s“The Day Before Spring,” after which she resumed playing leading roles in civic light opera productions. She made her London stage debut in the musical “The Dubarry”in 1947, followed by a tour of English music halls in a variety act, as well as appearing in a couple of other stage productions. She also hosted her own BBC television show, “An American in England,” in 1951. When she returned to the United States, she did nightclub work and appeared on “Playhouse 90” and other top TV dramatic anthology shows before winding down her show business career in the 1960s. Talked into coming out of retirement in the early ’70s, she starred in “Mame” and several other musicals in Bay Area theaters throughout the decade. And for many years, she was a vocal teacher and mentor to local singers. Her fourth husband, Maxwell W. Hunter II, was one of the world’s leading rocket designers and space engineers, who helped design Nike, Thor and other missiles during the Cold War. He died in 2001, after 37 years of marriage. “This man did so much,” Manning told The Times after her husband’s death. “I only made people happy being a movie star, but he changed the world.” In addition to Shafer, of Pleasanton, Calif., Manning is survived by four other stepchildren, Matt Hunter of Los Angeles, Sally Wiley of Evanston, Ill., and David and Max Hunter III, both of Hollidaysburg, Pa.; and five step- grandchildren. Irene Manning, 91; Lyric Soprano Was Best Known for Roles in Film Musicals IRENE MANNING The classically trained singer is pictured here in her 1941 role as Madina in “The Chocolate Soldier,” which she performed with the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera. Public memorial services for Arnold O. Beckman, the inventor, entrepreneur and philanthropist who died May 18 at the age of 104, will be held Fridayat 10 a.m. at the Richard Nixon Library & Birthplace in Yorba Linda. Beckman, a resident of Corona del Mar, was to be buried in his hometown of Cullom, Ill. Memorial for Beckman Will Be Held Friday By a Times Staff Writer Trudy Marshall, a former New York photographers’ model who starred with Laurel and Hardy in the 1943 film “Dancing Masters” and appeared in a number of other films in the 1940s, died May 23 in her Century City home. She was 84. Her family said she had suffered from lung cancer. Marshall, the mother of actress Deborah Raffin, had roles in about 30 films, including playing one of the Sullivan sisters in “The Sullivans” (1944) and appearing with John Payneand Maureen O’Hara in “Sentimental Journey” (1946) and Red Skelton in “The Fuller Brush Man” (1948). She also had a small role in the 1975 film “Once Is Not Enough,” in which her daughter was featured. Marshall was an active member of Motion Picture Mothers and of the Screen Smart Set Auxiliary of the Motion Picture & Television Fund. Born Feb. 14, 1922, in Brooklyn, Marshall married Phillip Raffin, a Los Angeles meat brokerage executive, in 1944. He died in 1982. Besides Deborah Raffin, she is survived by another daughter, Judy Holston of Brentwood; a son, Bill Raffin of Malibu; and three grandchildren. Services will be at 3 p.m. Sunday at Hillside Memorial Park and Mortuary, 6001 Centinela Ave., Los Angeles. Instead of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Motion Picture & Television Fund, 22212 Ventura Blvd., Suite 300, Woodland Hills, CA 91364, or Operation Children, 270 N. Canon Drive, Suite 1274, Beverly Hills, CA 90210. TRUDY MARSHALL She was the mother of actress Deborah Raffin. Trudy Marshall, 84; Starred in Several Films in 1940s C. Bedell, 90; First Female in Congress From Washington Catherine Dean May Bedell, 90, the first woman elected to Congress from Washington state, died Friday in Rancho Mirage, Calif., relatives said. The cause of death was not announced. Bedell, a Republican, was elected to the House in 1958 and served six terms before losing to Democrat Mike McCormack in 1970. She was known as Catherine Dean May at the time; she later married Donald W. Bedell. She was one of the few women elected to national office at the time without first being appointed to replace their husbands. She never promoted herself as a women’s rights activist but supported the Equal Rights Amendment and worked to include a prohibition against discrimination based on gender in the 1964 Civil Rights Act. Before she was nominated for Congress, she served in the state House in Washington for six years and also had a career in broadcasting, including a stint at NBC in New York. Born in Yakima, Wash., Bedell earned a bachelor of science degree at the University of Washington and taught high school English for three years. She then studied speech at USC. Francis J. Diskin, 57; Prosecuted Terrorist in Plot to Bomb LAX Francis Jerome Diskin, a veteran federal prosecutor who headed the government’s case against an Algerian terrorist convicted of plotting to bomb Los Angeles International Airport, died Tuesday, according to the Justice Department. He was 57. He died after brain surgery to remove a tumor. Diskin joined the U.S. attorney’s office in Seattle in 1976. He went on to serve as chief of the criminal division, senior litigation counsel and supervisor of the drug unit. He was the lead prosecutor in the trial of Ahmed Res- sam, who was arrested on the eve of the millennium as he tried to enter the United States through Port Angeles, Wash., with a vehicle trunk- load of explosives. Ressam was convicted in 2001 of explosives charges and conspiracy to commit international terrorism; he has since provided valuable testimony against other suspected terrorists. In April 2001, U.S. Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft appointed Diskin interim U.S. attorney, a post he held until October 2001. From Times Staff and Wire Reports PASSINGS

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