Bethune in 1968
Zina Bianca Bethune|
February 17, 1945
Staten Island, New York City, U.S.
February 12, 2012 (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|
|Known for||Theater Bethune|
|Spouse(s)||Sean Feeley (m. 1970)|
Zina Bianca Bethune (February 17, 1945 – February 12, 2012) was an American actress, dancer, and choreographer.
Bethune was born on Staten Island, 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 5 years old.
Theater and Dance
Bethune began her formal ballet training aged 6 at George Balanchine's School of American Ballet. By age 14 she was dancing with the New York City Ballet. Bethune performed in her first professional acting role at age 6, with a small part in the off-Broadway play "Monday's Heroes", produced by Stella Holt at the Greenwich Mews Theater.
As a child performer, Bethune 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.
Newspaper columnist Dick Kleiner described Bethune's performance in a 1958 television production as a "shatteringly beautiful portrayal of Tennessee Williams' young heroine in This Property Is Condemned." In October 1958, Zina portrayed Amy March in the CBS musical adaptation of Little Women.
She portrayed nurse Gail Lucas on The Nurses (1962–65), and appeared in 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, The Invaders and Emergency!.
Bethune 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.
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. She was survived by her husband, Sean Feeley, and her mother, retired actress Ivy Bethune.
- Zina Bethune profile at FilmReference.com
- "Ivy Bethune profile at". filmreference.com. Retrieved February 14, 2012.
- Online biography at Dance Teacher Magazine website Archived December 17, 2004, at the Wayback Machine.
- Hevesi, Dennis (18 February 2012). "Zina Bethune Dies at 66; Actress, Dancer and Choreographer". The New York Times. p. A24.
- Kleiner, Dick (October 7, 1958). "Actress Wants to Dance". Shamokin News-Dispatch. Pennsylvania, Shamokin. p. 4. Retrieved August 8, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- Ellenberger, Allan R. (2000). "Television". Margaret O'Brien: A Career Chronicle and Biography. McFarland & Company. p. 205. ISBN 0-7864-2155-X. Retrieved November 26, 2016 – via Google Books.
- Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7. P. 776.
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