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‘Peter Gunn’ Star Lola Albright Dies at 92

Variety logo Variety 3/24/2017 Dave McNary
© Provided by Variety

Lola Albright, the glamorous blonde actress best known for starring on the television series “Peter Gunn,” died Thursday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 92.

A native of Akron, Ohio, news of her death was first reported by the Akron Beacon-Journal. “She went very peacefully,” her friend Eric Anderson told the newspaper. “She died at 7:20 a.m. of natural causes. We loved her so much.”

Albright was a receptionist at WAKR radio in Akron, then left to go to Cleveland’s WTAM, where she wed announcer Warren Dean — the first of three marriages.

Her first film appearance came in 1947 in “The Unfinished Dance,” starring Margaret O’Brien. She then starred with Judy Garland in “Easter Parade” in 1948. The next year she appeared opposite Kirk Douglas in 1949’s “Champion,” portraying a spurned lover. Douglas received an Oscar nomination for his work.

In 1950, she acted in “The Good Humor Man” with her future spouse Jack Carson. She also appeared in Frank Sinatra’s “The Tender Trap,” Elvis Presley’s “Kid Galahad,” Douglas’ “The Way West,” “A Cold Wind in August” and “Where Were You When the Lights Went Out?” She received the best actress award in 1966 at the Berlin Film Festival for portraying a suicidal mother in “Lord Love a Duck.”

Albright’s television career cornerstone came from playing the singer Edie Hart, the romantic interest of Peter Gunn (played by Craig Stevens), on the Blake Edwards’ NBC-ABC series “Peter Gunn.” For her performance on the show, she received an Emmy nomination in 1959. Albright also released the album “Dreamsville,” backed by the Henry Mancini Orchestra, in 1959.

Albright had an extensive TV career and substituted for Dorothy Malone on ABC’s primetime soap opera “Peyton Place” in 1966. Other credits included “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “Gunsmoke,” “Rawhide,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “My Three Sons,” “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “Bonanza,” “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.,” “Kojak,” “Columbo,” “McMillan & Wife,” “Starsky & Hutch” and “The Incredible Hulk.”

Albright was married to Carson and to Bill Chadney, an actor and restaurant-club owner. Both marriages ended in divorce. Survivors include her step-daughter, Susan Chadney.

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