Helen Walker

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For other people named Helen Walker, see Helen Walker (disambiguation).
Helen Walker
Helen Walker publicity photo.jpg
photo of Walker by Whitey Schafer
Born (1920-07-17)July 17, 1920
Worcester, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died March 10, 1968(1968-03-10) (aged 47)
North Hollywood, California, U.S.
Cause of death cancer
Years active 1942–1960
Spouse(s) Edward DuDomaine (1950-1952) (divorced)
Robert Blumofe (1942-1946) (divorced)

Helen Walker (July 17, 1920 – March 10, 1968) was an American film actress of the 1940s and 1950s.[1]


She was born in Worcester, Massachusetts, and made her film debut in 1942. She earned a solid reputation playing leading roles in comedies - a "reactress" to comic leads, as she described it.[2]

Walker's film debut came in 1942's Lucky Jordan, a comedy about a gangster (Alan Ladd) who ends up drafted in the Army, where Walker's character reports him AWOL. In the farce Brewster's Millions, her sweetheart inherits $8 million, but can't keep it unless he can spend a million of it within a specified time. Walker also played the romantic interest of Fred MacMurray in the popular comedy Murder, He Says in 1945.

After a promising start in Hollywood, Walker was involved in a 1946 car wreck. A hitchhiker was killed, and Helen and two others were seriously injured. She was charged with drunk and reckless driving. She was subsequently acquitted and made a comeback, but her career never fully recovered. She retired from acting at the age of 35 and died in North Hollywood, California from cancer at the age of 47.

Auto accident[edit]

She had just finished making what would become her most well-known film, 1947's Nightmare Alley, and was filming Heaven Only Knows [1] when an auto accident drastically disrupted Walker's career.

On December 31, 1946, while driving the car of director Bruce "Lucky" Humberstone from Palm Springs to Hollywood, she gave a ride to three hitchiking soldiers named Robert E. Lee, Philip Mercado, and Joseph Montaldo. Near Redlands, California, the car hit a divider and flipped over, killing Lee and causing serious injuries to Walker and the other two passengers. She was charged with drunk driving and reckless driving, and Mercado brought a civil suit for $150,000 against her.[3]

Her criminal trial for manslaughter ended with a dismissal on the motion of San Bernardino County District Attorney Jerome B. Kavanaugh.[4]

Personal life[edit]

She was married to Paramount studio lawyer Robert Blumofe (1942, divorced 1946) and department store executive Edward DuDomaine (1950, divorced 1952).[1] When her house burned in 1960, other actresses held a benefit to assist her.[1]




  1. ^ a b c d Obituary Variety, March 13, 1968, page 79.
  2. ^ Helen Walker Clings to Ideals: Recruit From Stage Confidently Waits for 'Grown-up' Parts Stage Recruit Holds Fast to Her Ideals Helen Walker Sure She'll Be Assigned 'Grown-up' Parts Scheuer, Philip K. Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 04 Nov 1945: B1.
  3. ^ "Hitchhiker Seeks Damages From Helen Walker" Los Angeles Times, March 6, 1947.
  4. ^ "Helen Walker Cleared in Hitchhiker's Death" Los Angeles Times, April 9, 1947.

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