Zina Bethune

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Zina Bethune
Zina Bethune 1968.JPG
Born (1945-02-17)February 17, 1945
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died February 12, 2012(2012-02-12) (aged 66)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death hit-and-run accident
Resting place Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery
Occupation actor, ballet dancer, choreographer and teacher
Years active 1951-2006
Known for Theater Bethune
Spouse(s) Sean Feeley (m. 1970; her death 2012)
Relatives William Charles Bethune
Ivy Bethune

Zina Bethune (February 17, 1945 – February 12, 2012) was an American actress, dancer, and choreographer.

Life and career[edit]

Bethune was born in New York City, the daughter of Ivy (née Vigder), an actress (born June 1, 1918, Sevastopol, Russia) and William Charles Bethune, a sculptor and painter who died in 1950 when Zina was five years old.[1][2] Zina began her formal ballet training aged six at George Balanchine's School of American Ballet.[3] By age 14 she was dancing with the New York City Ballet. As a child performer, she also appeared in the original cast of The Most Happy Fella as well as several American daytime television dramas, including a stint as the first "Robin Lang" on The Guiding Light from May 1956 to April 1958. Bethune played President Franklin D. Roosevelt's daughter in Sunrise at Campobello in 1960.

She starred as "The Girl" alongside Harvey Keitel in Martin Scorsese's first feature film, Who's That Knocking at My Door, released in 1967, although much of it (including Bethune's acting parts) was filmed in 1965 for Scorsese's film project at New York University. She was featured on The Nurses (1962–65), and other series, including Kraft Television Theatre (with Martin Huston in the series finale), Route 66, The Judy Garland Show, Pantomime Quiz, Hollywood Squares, Young Dr. Malone, Dr. Kildare, and Emergency!.

Zina Bethune married Sean Feeley in 1970; he survives her.[4] Her mother, who survives her, is retired actress Ivy Bethune.

Other work[edit]

Throughout her life, Bethune worked with disabled students. She herself was diagnosed with scoliosis at age 11, and at 17 she was diagnosed with hip dysplasia. Bethune founded Bethune Theatredanse in 1981, a multimedia performance company which has been designated as the official resident company of the Los Angeles Theatre Center. She founded Dance Outreach, now known as Infinite Dreams, in 1982, which currently enrolls about 1,000 disabled children in dance-related activities throughout Southern California.


On February 12, 2012, Bethune was killed in an apparent hit-and-run accident while she was trying to help an injured opossum in Griffith Park, Los Angeles.[5] She was five days shy of her 67th birthday.


  1. ^ Zina Bethune profile at FilmReference.com
  2. ^ "Ivy Bethune profile at". filmreference.com. Retrieved February 14, 2012. 
  3. ^ Online biography at Dance Teacher Magazine website
  4. ^ "Zina Bethune Dies at 66; Actress, Dancer and Choreographer", New York Times, February 18, 2012 [1]
  5. ^ Notice of Zina Bethune's death, abclocal.go.com; accessed August 25, 2014.

External links[edit]