LOS ANGELES (AP) — Mary Healy, a versatile actress and singer who starred with Orson Welles on Broadway and opposite her husband Peter Lind Hayes for nearly 60 years on stage, screen and radio, has died. She was 96.
Healy had been in declining health and died of natural causes, her daughter, actress Cathy Lind Hayes, said Thursday. Hayes was with her when she died Tuesday at a health care facility in Calabasas, northwest of Los Angeles.
“She sang. She danced. She was funny. She was a straight man,” Hayes said. “My mom was a really charming, gracious woman until the last day.”
Healy, a native of New Orleans and former beauty queen, was discovered while singing at the Roosevelt New Orleans hotel and made her screen debut in 1938 in “Josetta,” followed by about a dozen other movies through the early 1980s.
She appeared in four Broadway shows between 1942 and 1958, including the Walter Kerr-written musical revue “Count Me In” and opposite Welles in the Cole Porter musical “Around the World,” in which she played an Indian princess, Aouda.
Healy met her future husband in 1939 while he was performing with his mother, Grace Hayes, a vaudevillian and Los Angeles area nightclub owner. Healy and Peter Lind Hayes married the next year and performed together nearly exclusively until his death in 1998, their daughter said.
They co-starred in the 1953 movie “The Five Thousand Fingers of Doctor T,” a fantasy about a boy who hates piano lessons. It was co-written by Theodor Geisel, better known as the children’s author Dr. Seuss.
On TV, they were paired on “The Peter Lind Hayes Show,” a 1950-51 variety-comedy series; the 1960-61 sitcom “Peter Loves Mary”; and on game shows including “What’s My Line?”
In the early 1960s, the couple hosted a New York radio station program that was broadcast from the basement of their New Rochelle home. They later became longtime Las Vegas residents and performed at the Sands Hotel.
“Moments to Remember with Peter and Mary — Our Life in Show Business from Vaudeville to Video,” was self-published by Healy in 2004.
Besides her daughter, Healy is survived by a son, Peter Michael Hayes, and a grandchild.
A private funeral service was planned.
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