Lynne Carver in the trailer for Madame X
|Born||Virginia Reid Sampson
September 13, 1916
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
|Died||August 12, 1955
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Cause of death||Cancer|
|Spouse(s)||William Mullaney (1948–1955)|
Lynne Carver (September 13, 1916 – August 12, 1955) was an American film actress. She appeared in 42 films between 1934 and 1953.
Carver was born Virginia Reid Sampson on September 13, 1916, in Birmingham, Alabama. Her father, Reid Johnson Sampson, was a mining engineer in Arizona and New Mexico for several years preceding World War I, and he and his family were briefly detained by Pancho Villa during one of the Mexican general's raids across the border into the Southwestern US, when Virginia was an infant.
Virginia went to Hollywood at a young age to pursue a career in acting after winning a beauty pageant. Some members of her family maintained that she took a stage name because she felt that her given name was too "old–fashioned" and that she was reaching for her paternal grandmother's maiden name, Cravens, but could not quite recall it properly.
Early on she was billed as Virginia Reid with RKO Pictures and can be seen in several musicals as one of the "Goldwyn Girls". She dated Howard Hughes, briefly, in the 1930s, before moving on to MGM as Lynne Carver where she became a regular in their stable of actresses. Her older sister, Marjorie Lee Sampson, followed Virginia to Hollywood and landed a few small parts, but never achieved the status of her sister, and soon moved on.
First playing minor bit parts, Lynne Carver eventually moved up to the level of ingenue in a few of her later roles, probably because of her striking looks and Southern charm. The Sampson family were prominent Kentuckians for several generations, where her grandfather, William Sampson, had served as Chief Justice of the Kentucky Supreme Court during the American Civil War.
As her career advanced, she appeared in several films with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, and was probably best known for her role as Alice Raymond in the early Dr. Kildare films. She was "Barbara" in the magical musical production Maytime in 1937 along with Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald and also appeared with them in Bitter Sweet, a 1940 attempt to recapture the success of Maytime. Two of her better known M-G-M performances are as Sylvia Bellaire in the 1938 musical comedy film, Everybody Sing starring Allan Jones and Judy Garland, and as Bess, Scrooge's nephew's fiancée, in A Christmas Carol starring Reginald Owen as Ebenezer Scrooge. Both films were released in 1938. Her last film for MGM was Tennessee Johnson which starred Van Heflin as the 17th President of the United States. Carver played Martha, the daughter of Andrew Johnson.
She married Nicholas Nayfack in 1937 and they divorced in 1942. The slowdown of work in Hollywood due to World War II caused her career to stall. During and after the war, she played mostly in Republic westerns with Roy Rogers and Johnny Mack Brown and other more obscure films, but never achieved the level of success she had known earlier.
She was married to theatrical agent William Mullaney, lived in New York, and had a busy stage and TV career until 1954.
- Maytime (1937), with Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy
- Madame X (1937)
- The Bride Wore Red (1937)
- Everybody Sing (1938)
- Young Dr. Kildare (1938)
- A Christmas Carol (1938)
- The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1939)
- Broadway Melody of 1940 (1940)
- Bitter Sweet (1940)