Gloria O'Connor, Widow of Actor Donald O'Connor, Dies at 84

1:07 PM PST 06/06/2013 by Mike Barnes
Gloria and Donald O'Connor in 1956.

An actress at MGM, she was the younger sister of late "Hollywood Reporter" publisher Tichi Wilkerson Kassel.

Gloria O’Connor, an actress and the widow of legendary MGM song-and-dance man Donald O’Connor, died Tuesday of natural causes at her home in Thousand Oaks, Calif., their daughter Alicia told The Hollywood Reporter. She was 84.

O’Connor was the younger sister of Tichi Wilkerson Kassel, the publisher of THR from 1962 (when her husband Billy Wilkerson died) until the publication’s sale to Affiliated Publications in 1988 for $26.7 million. Wilkerson Kassel died in 2004.

As Gloria Noble, O’Connor was a promising starlet at MGM who appeared in such films as Skirts Ahoy!, Small Town Girl, Latin Lovers and The Affairs of Dobie Gillis, all released in 1952 and ’53.

The Los Angeles native met the star of the classic musicals Singin’ in the Rain (1952) and There’s No Business Like Show Business (1954) while she was having lunch with Elizabeth Taylor in the studio commissary.

The O’Connors were married in 1956 and shared 47 years together until he died in September 2003.

In addition to Alicia, survivors include her sons Fred and Kevin, her stepdaughter Donna and her grandchildren Caitlin, Calli, Jackson and Jessi.

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