Helene Whitney

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For the TV producer of a similar name, see Helen Whitney.
Helene Whitney
Born Kenyon Fortescue
(1914-07-04)July 4, 1914
Brussels, Belgium
Died March 28, 1990(1990-03-28) (aged 75)
Atlantis, Florida, U.S.
Other names Helen Fortescue
Joyce Gardner
Helene Reynolds
Years active 1939-1948
Spouse(s) J. Louis Reynolds (1936-1939; divorced)

Helene Whitney (July 4, 1914 – March 28, 1990) was an American actress who appeared in films in the late 1930s and 1940s. She was known as Helene Reynolds after her marriage.


Whitney was born Kenyon Fortescue in 1914, but was known as Helene.[1] Through her mother, Grace Fortescue (1883–1979), she was a grandniece (and cousin twice removed) of Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone. Through her father Granville Roland Fortescue (1875–1952), she was cousin once removed of US President Theodore Roosevelt.

She grew up in Washington D.C. where she attended the National Cathedral School for Girls.[2] She married Julian Louis Reynolds, son of Richard S. Reynolds, Sr.[3] and heir to the Reynolds aluminum and tobacco fortunes, on July 15, 1936 in Washington, becoming Helene Fortescue Reynolds.[4] After three years of marriage, they divorced in May 1939.[4][5][6]

She became an actress, using the stage names of Joyce Gardner, Helene Whitney and Helene Reynolds, appeared in films in the late 1930s and 1940s and later in stage productions.[2] After her acting career ended, she became a Manhattan art gallery proprietor and artist in the 1960s.[1] She died of pneumonia at the John F. Kennedy Medical Center in Atlantis, Florida aged 75 on March 28, 1990.[2]


As Helene Whitney/Helen Whitney

Year Title Role
1939 The Hunchback of Notre Dame Fleur de Lys NYT
1940 The Saint's Double Trouble Anne Bitts IMDb
1940 Millionaire Playboy aka Glamour Boy (UK) uncredited IMDb
1940 The Philadelphia Story Main Line Society Woman IMDb
1941 City of Missing Girls Katherine Crawford IMDb

As Helene Reynolds

Year Title Role
1941 Confirm or Deny Dorothy IMDb
1941 Blue, White and Perfect Helen Shaw NYT
1942 Girl Trouble Helen Martin IMDb
1942 Roxie Hart Velma Wall IMDb
1942 Tales of Manhattan Actress IMDb
1942 Moontide Woman in boat IMDb
1942 The Man Who Wouldn't Die Anna Wolff NYT
1943 Dixie Dugan Jean Patterson IMdb
1943 Heaven Can Wait Peggy Nash IMdb
1943 Wintertime Marian Daly (uncredited) NYT
1943 The Meanest Man in the World0 Wife (Park Ave. Neighbor) IMDb
1944 Bermuda Mystery Angela IMDb


As Helene Reynolds

Year Title Role
1945 The Front Page Mollie Malloy [1]
1948 Mirage in Manhattan (Chevrolet Tele-Theatre) IMDb


Family tree[edit]


  1. ^ a b Spinzia, Raymond E. "Those Other Roosevelts: The Fortescues". THE FREEHOLDER: Magazine Online. The Oyster Bay Historical Society. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  2. ^ a b c "Obituary: Helene Fortescue Reynolds". The Washington Post. Mar 31, 1990. p. B5. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Milestones". Time. July 27, 1936. Retrieved October 15, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b "Helene Reyonlds To Seek Friendly Divorce in Reno". The Washington Post. Mar 26, 1939. Retrieved 2009-01-03. 
  5. ^ Fine, Mary Jane (January 23, 1984). "Reliving a scandalous past". Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved 2009-01-03.  "The papers crowed about the wedding, when Helen Fortescue and Julian Reynolds married on July 15, 1936, in Washington, DC, where Helene had grown up. They gloated over the divorce a few years later in story after sparing nary a detail.... The divorce was granted in May of 1939."
  6. ^ "Former Helen Fortesque at Reno to divorce Reynolds". The New York Times. March 28, 1939. p. 2. Retrieved 2009-01-03.  "Mrs. Helen E. Fortesque Reynolds arrived here today by plane from New York, prepared to take up residence to divorce Julian Louis Reynolds, tobacco heir."

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