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Mary Healy, an actress and singer who teamed with Peter Lind Hayes for a husband-and-wife comedy act that sparkled on the radio and television, in films and on the stage for more than 50 years, has died. She was 96.
Healy died on Tuesday of natural causes in Calabasas, Calif., publicist Wendy Morris announced.
Healy and Lind starred in the 1953 musical fantasy film The 5,000 Fingers of Dr. T., written by Theodor Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and produced by Stanley Kramer. Their 1958 Broadway comedy Who Was That Lady I Saw You With? was produced by Leland Hayward, who a year later produced The Sound of Music for the stage.
For several years in the early 1960s, the couple hosted a popular weekday morning radio program on New York station WOR, broadcast from the basement of their suburban home in New Rochelle, N.Y. They replicated their home for the set of their 1960-61 NBC sitcom Peter Loves Mary in which they played a showbiz couple and a guest-star would come over for dinner and display their talents.
Healy also appeared with her husband on two shows of the early 1950s, The Peter Lind Show and The Star of the Family. They were frequent guests on such TV game shows as What’s My Line? and often stepped in for Arthur Godfrey to host his TV shows.
Healy and Lind married in 1940 and performed nearly exclusively together until his death in April 1998.
Healy was born in New Orleans on April 14, 1918, and won a Miss New Orleans beauty pageant in 1935. She was discovered by a 20th Century Fox talent scout while singing in the historic Blue Room of the Roosevelt Hotel in the city and made her movie debut in Josette (1938). Her first significant role came opposite Tyrone Power and ice-skating star Sonja Henie in Second Fiddle (1939).
Healy starred in and sang the title song of the film Star Dust (1940). That year, she met Hayes while he was performing with his mother, vaudevillian Grace Hayes, at the Grace Hayes Lodge in North Hollywood. The couple also starred in the musical comedy Zis Boom Bah (1941), and she appeared in the 1942 films The Yanks Are Coming (1942) and Strictly in the Groove.
She made her stage debut in 1945 on Broadway in the musical revue Count Me In, co-written by Walter Kerr, and appeared in the play Common Ground that year. In 1946, she starred as Indian princess Madam Aouda opposite Orson Welles in the Mercury Theater Broadway extravaganza Around the World.
Hayes and Healy were the original singers of the Chevrolet jingle “See the U.S.A. in Your Chevrolet,” first performed on the 1949-50 CBS variety show Inside U.S.A. With Chevrolet. (Dinah Shore is most famous for performing the tune.)
They published two memoirs, Twenty-Five Minutes From Broadway (1961) and Moments to Remember With Peter and Mary — Our Life in Show Business From Vaudeville to Video (2014). The couple made their home in Las Vegas after headlining at the Sands Hotel 14 times over the years, and she was inducted into the Nevada Entertainment/Artist Hall of Fame at UNLV in 2006.
Survivors include her daughter, actress Cathy Lind Hayes, son Peter Michael Hayes and a grandchild.
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