Vocalist, Wife of Actor Don DeFore Dies

6:30 PM PST 11/27/2011 by Mike Barnes

Marion Holmes DeFore, who toured with big bands and recorded "I'm a Little Teapot," was 93.

Marion Holmes DeFore, the wife of late actor Don DeFore and a vocalist who had a hit with "I'm a Little Teapot" in the 1940s, died Nov. 17 in Santa Monica. She was 93.

DeFore's version of "I'm a Little Teapot," recorded with Art Kassel and his Kassels in the Air Orchestra, was a top 20 hit in January 1942. She also worked during her career with Jule Styne, Buddy Rogers, Gene Krupa and Henry Busse and for a time performed live on WGN radio every Saturday night from the Walnut Room in Chicago's Bismarck Hotel, where she met her future husband while he was in the area filming the 1942 film The Male Animal, starring Henry Fonda and Olivia de Havilland.

The DeFores married in Los Angeles on Valentine's Day 1942 — Judy Garland served as matron of honor — and were married for 51 years until Don's death in December 1993.

Don DeFore is perhaps best known for playing next-door neighbor "Thorny" on The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet from 1952-56 and "Mr. B," who employed Shirley Booth as a maid, in the 1961-65 sitcom Hazel.

The DeFores owned Don DeFore's Silver Banjo Barbecue Restaurant in Disneyland from 1957 to 1962. Later, Marion worked as a Brentwood-based residential real estate agent for more than 30 years.

Survivors include children Penny, David, Dawn, Ron and Autumn, 12 grandchildren and 15 great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles to assist inner-city youth.

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