Diana Douglas

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Diana Douglas
Born Diana Love Dill
(1923-01-22)January 22, 1923
Devonshire, Bermuda
Died July 3, 2015(2015-07-03) (aged 92)
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, U.S.
Cause of death Cancer
Nationality British-American
Occupation Actress
Years active 1942–2008
Spouse(s) Kirk Douglas (m. 1943; div. 1951)
Bill Darrid (m. 1956; his death 1992)
Donald Webster (m. 2002; her death 2015)
Children Michael (b. 1944)
Joel (b. 1947)
Parent(s) Thomas Melville Dill (1876-1945)
Ruth Rapalje (neé Neilson) (1880-1973)

Diana Love Webster (née Dill; formerly Douglas and Darrid; January 22, 1923 – July 3, 2015) was a Bermudian-born American actress. She was known for her marriage to actor Kirk Douglas, from 1943 until their divorce in 1951. She was the mother of Michael and Joel Douglas.

In 1942, Douglas began her career as an actress and appeared in more than 50 films. Some of her well-known roles were as Susan Rogers in The Indian Fighter (co-starring Kirk Douglas) and as Peg in Planes, Trains and Automobiles. She was also known for her recurring role as Martha Evans in Days of Our Lives (1977–1979, 1982). In 2003, she appeared in It Runs in the Family with her ex-husband Kirk, her son Michael, and her grandson Cameron. She retired from acting in 2008.

Early life[edit]

She was born in Devonshire, Bermuda, on January 22, 1923.[1] Her father, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Melville Dill (also the name of her great-grandfather, a mariner),[2] was a former Member of the Colonial Parliament (MCP) (representing the Parish of Devonshire in the Parliament of Bermuda), Attorney General of Bermuda, and former Commanding Officer of the Bermuda Militia Artillery. Her mother Ruth Rapalje (née Neilson) had roots in New Jersey. Douglas' brother Bayard was a prominent lawyer and politician. Her sister Ruth was married to John Seward Johnson I, heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune.[3] Douglas' father was from a prominent Bermudian family, present on the island since the early 17th century.

Her ancestry included English, Irish, Welsh, Dutch, Scottish, Belgian, and French.[4] Douglas was brought up in the Church of England.[5]

Career[edit]

In 1942, she began her career in a minor, uncredited role in Keeper of the Flame.[6] She went on to appear in many films during the 1950s and 1960s, one of her most notable roles arguably being Susan Rogers in The Indian Fighter. During the 1960s and 1970s, she appeared in a variety of television programs (such as the General Electric Theater and Naked City), her best known television role being Lily Chernak Donnelly on Love Is a Many Splendored Thing.

She played Poco on Three Steps to Heaven and Martha Evans in Days of Our Lives. Following the cancellation of Love Is a Many Splendored Thing, she played Annie Andersen in The Cowboys. She appeared in Roots: The Next Generations and The Waltons. In It Runs in the Family, Douglas appeared with her former husband, Kirk Douglas, son Michael and grandson Cameron, and later appeared on an episode of CBS's Cold Case and in the Season 15 ER episode "Heal Thyself" (2008), the year that she retired from acting.

In 1999, her autobiography, In the Wings: A Memoir, was published.[7][8][9]

Personal life[edit]

Dill was married to Kirk Douglas.[10] During the war, Douglas was serving in the U.S. Navy when he saw the May 3, 1943, issue of Life magazine, which featured a photograph of Dill on the cover.[11] He showed the cover to his shipmates and said that he would marry her.[12] The two were married on November 2, 1943. They had two sons, Michael and Joel, before divorcing in 1951.[13]

She married actor Bill Darrid, and the couple lived with her sons on the East Coast of the United States until his death in 1992. In 2002 Douglas married Donald Webster in the old Devonshire Parish Church in Bermuda.[14][15][16]

Death[edit]

On July 3, 2015, Douglas, a breast cancer survivor, died at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles of an undisclosed form of cancer at the age of 92.[6][17][18][19][20][21][22][23][24]

Family tree[edit]

Filmography[edit]

Film
Year Title Role Notes
1943 Keeper of the Flame Forward American Girl Uncredited
1947 The Late George Apley Sarah Uncredited
1948 Let's Live Again Terry
1948 The Sign of the Ram Catherine Woolton
1949 House of Strangers Elaine Monetti
1949 The Whistle at Eaton Falls Ruth Adams aka Richer Than the Earth (UK)
1952 Storm Over Tibet Elaine March Simms aka Mask of the Himalayas (USA: alternative title) aka Sturm über Tibet (West Germany)
1952 Monsoon Julia
1955 The Indian Fighter Susan Rogers
1970 Loving Mrs. Shavelson
1975 Dead Man on the Run Meg TV film
1977 Tail Gunner Joe Sarah TV film
1977 Alexander: The Other Side of Dawn Clara Duncan TV film
1977 Billy: Portrait of a Street Kid Mrs. Bedford TV film
1977 Mary White Jane Addams TV film
1977 Another Man, Another Chance Mary's mother
1978 Night Cries Mrs. Thueson TV film
1978 A Fire in the Sky Mrs. Rearden TV film
1981 Jaws of Satan Evelyn Downs aka King Cobra
1982 Sister, Sister Rhoda TV film
1983 The Star Chamber Adrian Caulfield
1987 Planes, Trains and Automobiles Peg
1991 Cold Heaven Mother St. Agnes
1992 A Town Torn Apart Mrs. Fenn TV film
aka Doc: The Dennis Littky Story
2003 It Runs in the Family Evelyn Gromberg
Television
Year Title Role Notes
1949 Photocrime
1950 Masterpiece Playhouse Episode: "The Rivals"
1950 The Web Episode: "Key Witness"
1951 Kraft Television Theatre Episode: "Mr. Mergenthwirker's Lobblies"
1952 Armstrong Circle Theatre Episode: "Mr. Bemiss Takes a Trip"
1953 Studio One Episode: "Greed"
aka Studio One Summer Theatre (summer title) aka Studio One in Hollywood (new title) aka Summer Theatre (summer title) aka Westinghouse Studio One aka Westinghouse Summer Theatre (summer title)
1953 Robert Montgomery Presents Episode: "Element of Risk"
1953 Medallion Theatre Episode: "The Decision at Arrowsmith"
1953 Three Steps to Heaven Mary Claire "Pogo" Thurmond Morgan #2
1953 Willys Theatre Presenting Ben Hecht's Tales of the City Episode: "Count Bruga"
1955 General Electric Theater Nora Episode: "The Seeds of Hate"
aka G.E. Theater (USA: informal short title)
1956 Medic Edith Martin Episodes: "Reach of the Giant: Part 1", "Reach of the Giant: Part 2"
1956 Science Fiction Theatre Elaine Conover
Jane Brandon
Episode: "Brain Unlimited"
Episode: "End of Tomorrow"
1956 West Point Mrs. Jan Willis Episode: "Officer's Wife"
1956–57 Robert Montgomery Presents Carla Major
Mrs. Whitton-Betty
Episode: "Goodbye, Grey Flannel"
Episode: "Wait for Me"
1959 Armstrong Circle Theatre Mrs. Donald Jewkes Episode: "Miracle at Spring Hill"
1959 Naked City Meg Peters
Hilda Wallace
Episode: "The Scorpion Sting"
Episode: "Even Crows Sing Good"
1964 Flipper Mrs. Granville Episode: "The Second Time Around"
1965 For the People Bernice Brandon Episode: "The Influence of Fear"
1965 Ben Casey Martha English Episode: "War of Nerves"
1967 N.Y.P.D. Mrs. Whitaker Episode: "The Boy Witness"
1970–73 Love Is a Many Splendored Thing Lily Chernak Donnelly
1973 Hawkins Clara Guilfoyle Episode: "Die, Darling, Die"
1973 Kung Fu Sister Richardson Episode: "The Tong"
1974 The Streets of San Francisco Mrs. Adele Sloane Episode: "Chapel of the Damned"
1974 The Cowboys Annie Andersen
1974–75 Cannon Mrs. Foxworth
Alex Parks
Episode: "The Avenger" (1974)
Episode: "The Deadly Conspiracy" (1975)
1975 Barnaby Jones Alice Parks Episode: "The Deadly Conspiracy: Part 2"
1977 Lou Grant Norma Cardell Episode: "Hoax"
1979 Roots: The Next Generations Mrs. Andy Warner
1979 The Waltons Mrs. Denman Episodes: "The Journal", "The Violated", "The Waiting"
1980 Knots Landing Dr. Charlotte Kramer Episodes: "Bottom of the Bottle: Part 2", "Remember the Good Times"
1981 Nero Wolfe Sarah Rackham Episode: "In the Best Families"
1981 CHiPs Vera Baricza Episode: "The Hawk and the Hunter"
1982 Lou Grant Carole Fuller Episode: "Review"
1982 Remington Steele Hannah Dillon Episode: "Tempered Steele"
1983 Cagney & Lacey Blanche Episode: "The Gang's All Here"
1983 Dallas Dr. Suzanne Lacey Episode: "The Letter"
1984 Scarecrow and Mrs. King Evelyn McGuire Episode: "I Am Not Now, nor Have I Ever Been... a Spy"
1986 Hardcastle and McCormick Frances Episode: "Hardcastle for Mayor"
1985–86 The Paper Chase Professor Tyler
1987 Beauty and the Beast Margaret Chase Episode: "Song of Orpheus"
1993 Dark Justice Mrs. Collins Episode: "My Dinner with Nick"
1993 Harts of the West Betty Episode: "Jake's Brother"
2004 The West Wing Libby Lassiter Episode: "The Stormy Present"
2007 Cold Case Mrs. Valentine '07 Episode: "Devil Music"
2008 ER Bertha Mendenhall Episode: "Heal Thyself"

Book[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Zumberge, Marianne (July 4, 2015). "Diana Douglas Webster, mother of Michael Douglas, ex-wife of Kirk Douglas, dies at 92". Boston Herald. Retrieved 31 October 2015. 
  2. ^ "Actress Diana Dill from Bermuda". Bernews. Retrieved 31 October 2015. 
  3. ^ Conover, David Kipp, ed. "Ancestors of Michael Kirk Douglas". ConoverGenealogy.com. Retrieved March 16, 2015. 
  4. ^ Douglas 1999, p. 17.
  5. ^ Galloway, Stephen (2010-11-29). "Michael Douglas: One Hell of a Year". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2010-12-17. 
  6. ^ a b Barnes, Mike (July 4, 2015). "Actress Diana Douglas, Mother of Michael and Ex-Wife of Kirk, Dies at 92". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on July 4, 2015. Retrieved July 4, 2015. 
  7. ^ "In the Wings: A Memoir". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved October 27, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Picks and Pans Review: In the Wings". People. September 6, 1999. Retrieved October 27, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Film Was Family Affair For Diana Douglas". Bernews. March 1, 2011. Retrieved October 27, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Film Was Family Affair For Diana Douglas". Bernews. March 1, 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2015. 
  11. ^ "Front Cover". Life. Time Inc: 1. 3 May 1943. ISSN 0024-3019. 
  12. ^ "Bermudian actress Diana Douglas back in Life". The Royal Gazette. May 13, 1993. Retrieved 31 October 2015. 
  13. ^ "Diana Douglas Given Final Divorce Decree". Toledo Blade. Toledo, Ohio. February 24, 1951. p. 2. Retrieved 31 October 2015 – via Google News Archive. 
  14. ^ "Michael Douglas' Mum Weds at 79". Hello. December 30, 2002. Retrieved July 25, 2015. 
  15. ^ Breen, Stephen (December 30, 2002). "Rain fails to dampen Dill Douglas Darrid wedding celebration". The Royal Gazette. Retrieved 31 October 2015. 
  16. ^ Breen, Stephen (December 27, 2002). "Diana's wedding gift to Bermuda". The Royal Gazette. Retrieved 31 October 2015. 
  17. ^ Zumberge, Marianne (July 4, 2015). "Diana Douglas Webster, Mother of Michael Douglas, Ex-Wife of Kirk Douglas, Dies at 92". Variety. Archived from the original on July 4, 2015. Retrieved July 4, 2015. 
  18. ^ "Diana Douglas, actress - obituary". The Daily Telegraph. 5 July 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  19. ^ Kenneally, Tim (4 July 2015). "Diana Douglas, Mother of Michael and Ex-Wife of Kirk, Dead at 92". TheWrap. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  20. ^ Associated Press (5 July 2015). "Diana Douglas, Actress and First Wife of Kirk Douglas, Dies at 92". The New York Times. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  21. ^ Colker, David (4 July 2015). "Diana Douglas dies at 92; actress, mother of Michael Douglas". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  22. ^ Eleftheriou-Smith, Loulla-Mae (5 July 2015). "Diana Douglas dead: Actress and mother of Michael Douglas dies age 92". The Independent. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  23. ^ Lowe, Kinsey (4 July 2015). "Diana Douglas Dies: Actress, 92, Was Kirk Douglas' First Wife And Mother of Michael And Joel Douglas". Deadline.com. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 
  24. ^ "US actress Diana Douglas dies aged 92". BBC. 5 July 2015. Retrieved 1 November 2015. 

External links[edit]