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Martha Stewart, the actress and singer best known for her supporting turns opposite Joan Crawford in Daisy Kenyon and alongside Humphrey Bogart in In a Lonely Place, has died. She was 98.
Stewart died Wednesday, her daughter Colleen Shelley reported on Twitter.
“The original Martha Stewart left us yesterday,” she wrote. “She had a new part to play in a movie with all her heavenly friends. She went off peacefully surrounded by her family and cat.”
In original Broadway musicals, Stewart appeared in 1946-47 in Park Avenue, written by George S. Kaufman and Nunnally Johnson, and was a replacement for Vivian Blaine as Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls. When the Frank Loesser production came to London’s West End in 1953, she starred in that.
Stewart played a friend of Crawford’s artist character in Otto Preminger’s Daisy Kenyon (1947), and in Nicholas Ray’s In a Lonely Place (1950), she portrayed the impressionable hat check girl whom Bogart’s washed-up screenwriter is suspected of murdering.
Born on Oct. 7, 1922, in Bardwell, Kentucky, Martha Ruth Haworth and her family relocated to Brooklyn when she was young, and she graduated from New Utrecht High School in 1939.
She sang on NBC radio programs and with bandleaders Glenn Miller, Harry James and Claude Thornhill, and an engagement at the famed Stork Club in Manhattan brought her to the attention of a Hollywood talent scout.
At Fox, Stewart made her big-screen debut opposite Blaine in the musical comedy Doll Face (1945) — she performed a spunky duet with Perry Como in that — then starred opposite Richard Crane in Johnny Comes Flying Home (1946) and with June Haver in I Wonder Who’s Kissing Her Now (1947).
She also appeared in Are You With It? (1948) opposite Donald O’Connor, in Aaron Slick From Punkin Crick (1952) with Alan Young and Dinah Shore, in Convicted (1950) alongside Glenn Ford and Broderick Crawford and with Bobby Vinton in Surf Party (1964), her final credit.
Stewart’s first husband was Joe E. Lewis, and in the biopic of the singer-comedian, The Joker Is Wild (1957), starring Frank Sinatra, Mitzi Gaynor portrayed her. She also was married to actors George O’Hanlon (the voice of George Jetson in cartoons) and David Shelley.
Her son, blues rock guitarist David Shelley Jr., died of cancer in 2015.
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