Renee Godfrey

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Renee Godfrey
Born Renee Vera Haal
(1919-09-01)September 1, 1919
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died May 24, 1964(1964-05-24) (aged 44)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Cancer [1]
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale)
Occupation Actress and singer
Years active 1940–1964
Spouse(s) Peter Godfrey (m. 1941–64) (her death)
Children 3

Renee Godfrey (born Renee Vera Haal, September 1, 1919 – May 24, 1964) was an American stage and motion picture actress and singer.


Born September 1, 1919 in New York, Haal was a singer and competed as Miss New York State in the 1935 and 1937 Miss America pageants as Miss New York. In 1938, she went to London for a singing engagement and met the actor/director/screenwriter Peter Godfrey, whom she married two years later, he was almost 20 years her senior. She initially entered films at RKO, working as Renee Haal, and made her début in Sam Wood's Kitty Foyle (1940), the film that garnered Ginger Rogers her Oscar. Her next movie, Unexpected Uncle, was directed by Peter Godfrey, who also directed her in the romantic thriller Highways by Night in 1942.

Beginning two years later in the Danny Kaye starring vehicle Up in Arms (1944), she began working as Renee Godfrey. During the war, she and her husband were much-loved by the troops for the amateur magic shows that they put on through the USO. She continued working in small but important roles, such as Vivian Vedder in Terror by Night (1946) and Mrs. Stebbins in Stanley Kramer's Inherit the Wind. Renee Godfrey worked into the 1960s, appearing in Can-Can and Tender Is the Night.

With primary focus on raising her three children (which included a set of twins), Haal was seen only sporadically on TV during the 1950s with guest roles on former film stars Loretta Young and Jane Wyman's tailor-made showcases. For the most part, however, Haal was out of view. Her director-husband, who had flourished on 50s TV, was in ill health by the end of the decade. Taking secretarial and real estate classes to help support the family income, Haal tried making a comeback of sorts, finding bit roles in the films. Still a robust beauty, she was also a guest player on such popular shows as Perry Mason, Hazel, The Donna Reed Show and Wagon Train. At the age of 44, she died on May 24, 1964 in Los Angeles, California, after an extended battle against cancer, and before the release of her final film, the Disney-produced Those Calloways. Her husband died in 1970.

She is interred near her husband, Peter Godfrey at Glendale's Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery.[2][3]




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