The cute, but wily teenager, who turned into a beauty.
Although not precisely a “child actor” — a category disdained by W.C. Fields and, on occasion, by us — Diana Lynn started her movie career early (she was 15), and compiled a creditable list of film/tv credits over a nearly 30-year span. She also died early, in 1971 at the age 45.
The former Dolores Loehr came from a wealthy Los Angeles family (her mother was an accomplished pianist/teacher) and Diana, by the age of 10, was tabbed a child musical prodigy. Two years later, she found herself playing with the Los Angeles Junior Symphony Orchestra.
Lynn signed with Paramount (the studio that changed her name) in 1942, and found herself over the years cast in a range of pictures including…
…1949’s My Friend Irma, which introduced movie audiences to the rising comedy duo of Dean Martin (above) and Jerry Lewis.
Before that, Diana as an 18-year-old, appeared with Betty Hutton and Eddie Bracken in director Preston Sturges’ 1944 screwball comedy, The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek. (That’s the young Lynn with Hutton in the photo that opens today’s blog.)
And let’s not forget Diana’s peerless appearance as the winsome sidekick to a psychology professor (Ronald Reagan) attempting an uplifting experiment with a chimpanzee. The movie, of course, is 1951’s Bedtime For Bonzo.
Lynn, who enjoyed a lengthy career on tv after movie roles dried up, is an especially appealing blend of wholesomeness and sexiness. (See below.) Recalling her is a pleasure.