Diana Lynn

Diana Marie Lynn (born Dolores Eartha Loehr, July 5, 1926[2] December 18, 1971) was an American actress.

Diana Lynn
Lynn in 1946
Dolores Loehr

(1926-07-05)July 5, 1926
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
DiedDecember 18, 1971(1971-12-18) (aged 45)
Resting placeChurch of Heavenly Rest, New York
Years active19391970
Spouse(s)John C. Lindsey (19481953) (divorced)
Mortimer Hall (19561971; her death)
Children4, including Dolly Hall[1]

Early years

Lynn was born in Los Angeles, California. Her father, Louis Loehr, was an oil supply executive, and her mother, Martha Loehr, was a concert pianist.[3] Lynn was considered a child prodigy.[4] She began taking piano lessons at age 4,[5] and by the age of 12 was playing with the Los Angeles Junior Symphony Orchestra.

Film career

Lynn made her film debut playing the piano in They Shall Have Music[5] and was once again back at the keyboard, accompanying Susanna Foster, in There's Magic in Music, when it was decided that she had more potential than she had been allowed to show. Paramount Pictures changed her name to "Diana Lynn" and began casting her in films that allowed her to show her personality and developed her skills as an actress.

Her comedic scenes with Ginger Rogers in The Major and the Minor were well received, and in 1944 she scored an outstanding success in Preston Sturges' The Miracle of Morgan's Creek. She appeared in two Henry Aldrich films, and played writer Emily Kimbrough in two films Our Hearts Were Young and Gay and Our Hearts Were Growing Up both co-starring Gail Russell.

After a few more films, she was cast in one of the year's biggest successes, the comedy My Friend Irma with Marie Wilson as Irma, and Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis in their film debuts. The group reprised their roles for the sequel My Friend Irma Goes West, and five years later Lynn was reunited with Martin and Lewis for one of their last films, You're Never Too Young.

During the 1950s, Lynn acted in a number of films, portraying Spencer Tracy's daughter in the crime drama The People Against O'Hara and the female lead in the much lampooned Bedtime for Bonzo opposite Ronald Reagan. She also had many TV leading roles during the 1950s, particularly in the middle years of the decade. As a solo pianist, she released at least one single on Capitol Records[6] with backing by the Paul Weston orchestra.


In 1964, Lynn had a six-month stint on Broadway, replacing Barbara Bel Geddes in Mary, Mary.[4] In the early 1950s, she starred with Maurice Evans in The Wild Duck on Broadway.[7]

She also starred in runs of The Moon Is Blue in the United States and England.[8]


In 1947, a three-record album of Lynn's piano playing included Mozart's Rondo, Laura, and Body and Soul.[9]

Later years

A Democrat, she supported Adlai Stevenson's campaign during the 1952 presidential election.[10] She acted frequently in television guest roles throughout the 1960s. By 1970, she had virtually retired from acting and had relocated to New York City, where she was running a travel agency. She appeared in Company of Killers, a film made for television. Paramount then offered her a part in a new film, Play It as It Lays, and after some consideration, Lynn accepted the offer and moved back to Los Angeles.[11]


Before filming started on Play It as It Lays, Lynn suffered a stroke and died on December 18, 1971,[12] at the age of 45.[11] Lynn was cremated. A funeral service was held at Church of the Heavenly Rest in New York City, and a memorial service was held at All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills, California.[8][3]


In 1942, Parents magazine named Lynn "the most talented juvenile actress."[13] She has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: for motion pictures, at 1625 Vine Street, and for television, at 6350 Hollywood Boulevard.[14]


Lynn married architect John C. Lindsay December 18, 1948; they divorced in June 1953.[15] Lynn was then married in 1956 to Mortimer Hall, son of New York Post newspaper publisher Dorothy Schiff.[16]

Lynn's daughter Dolly Hall is a film producer.

Another daughter, Margaret, a.k.a. Daisy Hall,[17] is an alumna of the Emma Willard School for Girls in Troy, New York, and as an actress herself, has starred in numerous French- and lesser-known American-produced films, during the 1980s, '90s and 2000s.[18][17]

Partial filmography

Radio appearances

1952Theatre Guild on the Air"The Silver Whistle"[19]
1953Theatre Guild on the AirQuiet Wedding[20]


  1. "Diana Lynn - The Private Life and Times of Diana Lynn. Diana Lynn Pictures". www.glamourgirlsofthesilverscreen.com.
  2. Copy of birth certificate at Astrodatabank. The frequently reported date Oct. 7 appears to be incorrect.
  3. "Stroke Kills Actress Diana Lynn At 45". Santa Cruz Sentinel. December 19, 1971. p. 52. Retrieved June 26, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  4. "Actress Diana Lynn Was Piano Playing Prodigy". The Salina Journal. February 17, 1965. p. 16. Retrieved June 25, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  5. Coons, Robbin (June 4, 1943). "Dolly Gets Into Pictures And Is Now Diana Lynn". Big Spring Daily Herald. p. 2. Retrieved June 25, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  6. Abrams, Steven; Settlemier, Tyrone. "Capitol 500 - 1000, 78rpm numerical listing discography". The Online Discographical Project. Retrieved October 12, 2012.
  7. Hopper, Hedda (December 13, 1951). "Stanley Kramer to Produce Movie About 'U.N. Family'". Chicago Daily Tribune. p. Part 4-Page 8. Retrieved 27 June 2015.
  8. "Actress Diana Lynn Dies From a Stroke at Age 45". The Bridgeport Post. December 19, 1971. p. 111. Retrieved June 25, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  9. "1940s star Diana Lynn died in December 1971". The Kerrville Times. March 22, 1992. p. 41. Retrieved June 26, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  10. Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, page 33, Ideal Publishers
  11. "Diana Lynn Dies; Actress Was 45", The New York Times, p. 60, December 19, 1971
  12. "Actress Diana Lynn Dies". The Lincoln Star. December 19, 1971. p. 2. Retrieved June 25, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  13. "First Evening Gown Thrills Diana Lynn". Beatrice Daily Sun. August 29, 1943. p. 8. Retrieved June 25, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  14. "Diana Lynn". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  15. "Diana Lynn Divorces Criticizing Architect". Tucson Daily Citizen. June 13, 1953. p. 20. Retrieved June 26, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  16. "Nuptials on Dec. 7 for Diana Lynn", The New York Times, p. 119, November 18, 1956
  17. Max Messier. "Treasure Island (1999)". Contactmusic.com.
  18. Rader, Ron (2006). "Dolly Hall - bio info". DollyHall.net. Archived from the original on 2007-09-27. Retrieved 2007-08-19.
  19. Kirby, Walter (April 6, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 52. Retrieved May 16, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
  20. Kirby, Walter (March 15, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 46. Retrieved June 25, 2015 via Newspapers.com.
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