Lynne Carver

Lynne Carver (born Virginia Reid Sampson,[1] September 13, 1916 August 12, 1955) was an American film actress. She appeared in 42 films between 1934 and 1953.

Lynne Carver
Carver in the trailer for Madame X
Virginia Reid Sampson

(1916-09-13)September 13, 1916
DiedAugust 12, 1955(1955-08-12) (aged 38)
Years active1934–1948
Spouse(s)Nicholas Nayfack (1937-1942, divorce)
William Mullaney (1948–1955)

Early years

Carver was born in Lexington, Kentucky.[2][3] 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 Carver was an infant.

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.

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.


Carver went to Hollywood at a young age to pursue a career in acting after winning a beauty pageant. 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. In a 1938 interview, she explained her name change by saying, "I wanted to keep some sort of family name ... Finally my father suggested two, Lynn and Craven. I added the 'e' to the first and changed the last one to Carver because we didn't like Craven much."[3]

First playing minor bit parts, Carver eventually moved up to the level of ingenue in a few of her later roles. 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 MGM 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.

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.

Personal life

On March 31, 1935, Carver married dentist Ralph McClung in Selma, Alabama.[4] They had divorced by mid-December 1936.[5] She married Nicholas Nayfack in 1937 and they divorced in 1942.[6] She was married to theatrical agent William Mullaney,[7] lived in New York, and had a busy stage and TV career until 1954.


Carver died at Memorial Hospital in New York City after a year-long battle with cancer, on August 12, 1955, aged 38.


Year Title Role Starring Notes
1934Down to Their Last YachtSinger in QuartetUncredited
1934Kid MillionsGoldwyn GirlUncredited
1935Murder on a HoneymoonActress Holding ParrotUncredited
1935RobertaFashion ModelUncredited
1935Strangers AllBlonde Actress in FilmUncredited
1935Old Man RhythmJane - with College BoyUncredited
1935Old Man RhythmCollege GirlUncredited
1935To Beat the BandMinor Role
1937MaytimeBarbara RobertsJeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy
1937Madame XHelene
1937The Bride Wore RedMaddelena Monti
1938Everybody SingSylvia Bellaire
1938Young Dr. KildareAlice Raymond
1938A Christmas CarolBess
1939The Adventures of Huckleberry FinnMary Jane
1939Within the LawJune
1939Calling Dr. KildareAlice Raymond
1940Broadway Melody of 1940Emmy Lou Lee
1940Bitter SweetJoan Lockwood
1940DulcyAngela Forbes
1940Bitter SweetDolly
1941Mr. District Attorney in the Carter CaseJoyce Belmont
1942Man from CheyenneMarian Hardy
1942Yokel BoyVera Valaize
1942Sunset on the DesertAnn Kirby
1942Tennessee JohnsonMartha Lincoln
1943The Human ComedyDaughter BeaufrereUncredited
1943Presenting Lily MarsBonnie - ShowgirlUncredited
1944Law of the ValleyAnn Jennings
1945Flame of the WestAbbie Compton
1946Drifting AlongPat McBride
1948Crossed TrailsMaggie Flynn(final film role)


  1. Room, Adrian (2010). Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins, 5th ed. McFarland. p. 96. ISBN 9780786457632. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
  2. "Records Here Show Film Actress Bride Of Alabama Dentist". The Selma Times-Journal. Alabama, Selma. May 5, 1935. p. 2. Retrieved September 19, 2019 via
  3. Neville, Lucie (April 3, 1938). "But she will talk about her husband". Arizona Republic. Arizona, Phoenix. Every Week Magazine. p. 39. Retrieved September 19, 2019 via
  4. "Records Here Show Film Actress Bride Of Alabama Dentist". The Selma Times-Journal. Alabama, Selma. May 5, 1935. p. 1. Retrieved September 19, 2019 via
  5. Rawles, Obera H. (December 14, 1936). "Intimate Facts about New Hollywood Stars: Lynne Carver". The Corpus Christi Caller-Times. Texas, Corpus Christi. Central Press. p. 5. Retrieved September 19, 2019 via
  6. "Actress Petitions For Name Change". The Los Angeles Times. California, Los Angeles. February 27, 1948. p. 21. Retrieved September 19, 2019 via
  7. Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. (2 volume set). McFarland. p. 123. ISBN 9780786479924. Retrieved April 16, 2017.
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