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Dianne Foster in The Last Hurrah (1958)
|Born||Olga Helen Laruska
October 31, 1928
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
|Occupation||Actress; painter, musician|
Joel Murcott (1954-1959) (divorced) 2 children
Dr. Harold Rowe DDS (1961-1994) (his death) 1 child
Dianne Foster (born October 31, 1928) is a Canadian actress of Ukrainian descent who began her career at the age of thirteen in a stage adaptation of James Barrie's What Every Woman Knows. At fourteen she began a radio career, subsequently moved to Toronto, and became one of Canada's top radio stars, working with Andrew Allan, drama supervisor for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on productions such as Stage '49. For a holiday in 1951 she traveled to London, England, where she and Andrew Allen married. In London that same year, she appeared onstage in Agatha Christie's The Hollow and Orson Welles's Othello. In March, 1952, her husband returned to Canada while she stayed in London to honour her five-year contract with a British film company.
In 1953, she co-starred alongside Charlton Heston and Lizabeth Scott in the middling Bad for Each Other. In 1954, she was signed by Columbia Pictures and relocated to Hollywood, where her first appearance proper that year was with Mickey Rooney in the well-received Drive a Crooked Road.
Foster's marriage to Allen effectively was over before she left for the United States. In 1954, she married Joel A. Murcott, a Hollywood radio-television scriptwriter, during location filming for The Kentuckian. At thirty-nine, Murcott was fourteen years her senior and had been married previously.
On February 14, 1956, she gave birth to twins: a son, Jason, and a daughter, Jodi. Although her film career continued, it was not on the same upward trajectory as before. In 1957 she co-starred in the biopic Monkey on My Back about boxer Barney Ross, Night Passage with James Stewart and The Brothers Rico with Richard Conte. That same year she also filed for divorce from Murcott, claiming he struck her in the face and kicked her in the stomach. She asked for custody and $1 in token alimony. The couple reconciled, but it proved to be temporary as they separated twice more before finally divorcing in 1959, with Foster being awarded $250 a month in child support. It was the third time she had filed for divorce, and she gave her age as 24, although she was in fact 31.
In 1958, she starred with Alan Ladd in The Deep Six, and that same year she appeared alongside Jack Hawkins in Gideon of Scotland Yard before her last really big picture, The Last Hurrah. It featured an all-star cast that included Spencer Tracy, Pat O'Brien, and Basil Rathbone, and was nominated for two BAFTA awards.
In 1960, Foster was the title guest star in the episode "Lawyer in Petticoats" on the short-lived NBC western series Overland Trail starring William Bendix and Doug McClure. Her fellow guest stars were Barton MacLane and Denver Pyle. Foster also appeared in 1960 in three other NBC westerns Bonanza (as Joyce Edwards in "The Mill"), Wagon Train (as Leslie Ivers in "Trial for Murder: Part 2"), and Riverboat (as Marian Templeton in "Path of the Eagle").
There was a three-year absence before she next returned to the screen in King of the Roaring 20's - The Story of Arnold Rothstein. After her divorce from Murcott she married Dr. Harold Rowe, a Van Nuys dentist. On November 14, 1963, her son, Dustin Louis Rowe, was born in Los Angeles. In the same year she made her last film appearance, in the Dean Martin vehicle Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed?.
Foster continued to appear in television programs, such as the Wild Wild West episode "The Night of the Lord of Limbo," CBS's The Lloyd Bridges Show (1962–1963) and the ABC medical drama Breaking Point (1963–1964) and in The Fugitive. She guest starred in the ABC drama Going My Way, starring Gene Kelly. She made four guest appearances on Perry Mason between 1962-1965, and appeared in the "Caesar's Wife" episode of The Big Valley in 1966.
- Letter, Mickey Macdonald, Edmonton AB to Alice Frick, Toronto ON, 1949.04.29 in Marguerite (Clifton) Macdonald fonds, City of Edmonton Archives (MS 609)