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Ned Wynn, an actor and screenwriter who followed his father, Keenan Wynn, grandfather, Ed Wynn, and stepfather, Van Johnson, into show business, has died. He was 79.
Wynn died Sunday of Parkinson’s disease in a nursing facility near Healdsburg, California, his younger brother, Emmy-winning screenwriter Tracy Keenan Wynn (The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, The Longest Yard), told The Hollywood Reporter.
Ned Wynn wrote about being raised in Hollywood in his 1990 autobiography, We Will Always Live in Beverly Hills. In her review, Los Angeles Times reviewer Carolyn See wrote the book “swirls with resentments, rowdiness, self-pity, self-centeredness and an amazingly silly sense of humor. I don’t know how this will sell in the East, but everyone with an investment in what we think of as ‘Hollywood’ should buy this thing.”
Wynn appeared in small roles in just a handful of films. He, his father and grandfather worked together in The Absent Minded Professor (1961), Son of Flubber (1963) and The Patsy (1964); he also acted with his dad in Bikini Beach (1964) and Stagecoach (1966).
He penned screenplays for the surfing movie California Dreaming (1979), starring Glynnis O’Connor and Seymour Cassel; for telefilms starring Dennis Weaver, Shari Belafonte and John Ritter; and for a 1983 episode of ABC’s Matt Houston.
He even co-wrote a song, “Available,” that none other than Frank Sinatra recorded in the ’60s.
Edmond Keenan Wynn was born in New York on April 27, 1941, and brought up in Beverly Hills, of course. In 1947, his mother, Eve, divorced his father and married Johnson, one of his dad’s best friends. His father remarried in 1949.
Ned Wynn recalled fixing drinks at home for James Mason, Tyrone Power and Judy Garland and watching Fantasia on his 12th birthday at home when Walt Disney lent his family a print of the movie.
He attended Lycée Jaccard School in Switzerland, the University of Pennsylvania and California Berkeley and worked at Fox as a script analyst. He also appeared in other films including Pajama Party (1964), Beach Blanket Bingo (1965) and How to Stuff a Wild Bikini (1965) before focusing on screenwriting in the late ’70s.
Ed Wynn was a popular radio comedian who voiced the Mad Hatter in Alice in Wonderland (1951) and received a supporting actor Oscar nomination for The Diary of Anne Frank (1959). Keenan Wynn starred in such classics as Kiss Me Kate (1953) and Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964), and Johnson worked opposite Esther Williams, June Allyson, Elizabeth Taylor and others during his two decades as a major star at MGM.
Ned Wynn had been living in the Napa Valley for the past 28 years, his brother said. His survivors also include his half-sisters, Schuyler, Hilda (once married to songwriter Paul Williams) and Winnie; and a niece, Jessica Keenan Wynn, an actress.
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Behind The Screen