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Subject: Archive: Priscilla Lane, Apr. 4, 1995

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Date Posted: Thursday, April 04, 04:51:49pm

Actress Priscilla Lane, who starred opposite some of Hollywood’s most famous leading men in the 1930s and ’40s, died after a brief illness April 4 in an Andover, Mass., nursing home. She was 76.

Born Priscilla Mullican in Indianola, Iowa, she began performing as a child with her sister Rosemary. She and her sister were discovered by bandleader Fred Waring, who got their mother’s permission to take them on tour with his band, the Pennsylvanians. Lane’s Hollywood debut was with the band in the 1937 film “Variety Show.”

Her later films included “Brother Rat” (1938), with Ronald Reagan and Eddie Albert; “The Roaring Twenties” (’39), with James Cagney and Humphrey Bogart; “Saboteur” (’42), with Robert Cummings; and “Arsenic and Old Lace” (’44), with Cary Grant.

She also starred with two of her four sisters, Rosemary and Lola, in a series of movies, including “Four Daughters” (’38), “Four Wives” (’39) and “Four Mothers” (’40).

She had a somewhat controversial career at Warner Bros., having been suspended by the studio for turning down roles she didn’t like. Her 1939 film, “Yes, My Darling Daughter,” was banned by Gotham censors because her character entices a young man to join her for an unchaperoned weekend.

After she married Joseph A. Howard in the 1940s, she left Hollywood and moved to Andover, raising a family. She returned to show business briefly as the host of “The Priscilla Lane Show” on Boston television in 1958-59.

She is survived by four children and six grandchildren.

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