Diana Lynn – Stage and Screen Actress and Classical Pianist

I mainly remember Diana Lynn for her leading role in Rogues of Sherwood Forest with John Derek in 1950. However when I look into her life and career more, it seems I have overlooked this very talented actress with a very wide range of parts both on stage and screen across the World – with a beginning as a talented classical pianist !!

She was born in Los Angeles and grew up living in Beverley Hills. She began taking  piano lessons at the age of 6 and quickly rose to quite dizzy heights because at the age of 11 she was a prominent member of the LA Junior Symphony Orchestra.

She made her film debut in ‘There’s Magic in Music’ in 1941 and becoming a close firend of Susannah Foster – famous for the film version of The Phantom of the Opera with Claude Rains.

By the age of 15, Diana Lynn had become the youngest performer under contract at Paramount.

Later she became friends with Gail Russell.  She alos appeared with Gail Russell’s husband  Guy Madison in a stage play Dear Ruth at the La Jolla Playhouse

At the age of 21 and in 1947 she purchased her own house. Also in 1947, a three-record album of Diana Lynn’s piano playing included Mozart’s Rondo, Laura, and Body and Soul.

Then on 18th December 1948 she  marries handsome young architect John C. Lindsay at the University of Southern California. He’s 30; she’s 22. Actress Jane Withers is matron of honor; best man is Stuart Martin. The reception is held at Wynn Rocamora’s house. Actress Jane Nigh is heartbroken.

In 1952 she recorded two classical piano performances for Capitol Records.

Diana Lynn Piano Recital

Diana Lynn Piano Recital Recording

In 1953 she replaces Dawn Addams in the Broadway production of Horses in Midstream.

Then she flies off to Mexico for filming of Plunder in the Sun with Richard Widmark

In 1964, Lynn had a six-month stint on Broadway replacing Barbara Bel Geddes in Mary Mary and In the early 1950s, she starred with  Maurice Evans in The Wild Duck on Broadway.

Below in London

Diana Lynn on stage London

American actress Diana Lynn (1926 – 1971) uses a throat spray in her dressing room at the Duke of York’s Theatre, London, watched by her understudy, Miss Helly (right), 3rd December 1953. Lynn rushed off stage the night before, during a performance of ‘The Moon is Blue’, with suspected acute laryngitis.

She also starred in runs of The Moon is Blue in the United States and London at The Duke of York’s Theatre  –ABOVE-  where she went also in 1953 which seemed a particularly busy year for her.

Diana Lynn London Theatre

Diana Lynn London Theatre 2

The same year she  also separated from her husband John Lindsay in that year. In June of 1953 or more probably 1954, she is granted a divorce from Lindsay in Santa Monica. He claims she’s an emotional “idiot” and detrimental to his architectural career. She receives only a $ 1,700 property settlement from him as in June 1954 her divorce from Lindsay becomes final. She then tours with La Jolla’s Sabrina Fair.

In 1954 she is romantically linked to actor Andrew McLaglen while they film The Kentuckian. This breaks up when she’s cast opposite McLaglen’s wife, Veda Ann Borg, in You’re Never Too Young.

kentuckian - cinema quad movie poster (1).jpg

Also receives some unexpected publicity in 1955  during the filming of The Kentuckian in Owensboro, Kentucky. While signing autographs, an 18-year-old fan handcuffs himself to her.

The on 7th December 1956 she  marries the president of Los Angeles radio station KLAC, Mortimer W. Hall, who is divorced from Ruth Roman, in Mexico. His mother, Dorothy Schiff, was publisher of the New York Post.

On 6th July 1958 her son Matthew is born and two years  later on 26 April 1960 her daughter Dorothy is born. On 2 July 1962 her daughter Mary is born and another daughter Margaret arrives on 6 August 1964. Her family is now complete.

Diana Lynn with one of her children and husband

Diana Lynn with one of her children


In 1968 she  moves with her family to New York, where her husband assumes an executive position on the New York Post. They have a town house in Manhattan’s East ‘80s and a weekend home on Oyster Bay, Long Island.

In March of 1970 a new career dawns it seems as Diana is announced as the director of GO (Travel) Agency, headquartered at Bonwit Teller’s Department Store in Manhattan but then it appears she is scheduled to star opposite Anthony Perkins in Play It As It Lays.

This does not seem to have gone ahead though because Diana very sadly on 9th December 1971 suffers a stroke / brain hemorrhage in Los Angeles at the age of 45 and she dies on 17th December 1971  at Mount Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles. She’s survived by her husband and four children.

On 20th December 1971 a memorial service for her  is held at All Saints Episcopal Church in Beverly Hills.

On 22 December 1971 her funeral service takes place at the Episcopal Church of the Heavenly Rest, Beverly Hills and then she is interred at the Church of Heavenly Rest, New York.

What a short life – but packed with talent and then to be blessed with her family. Those children I know who were so young, would have been absolutely devastated by the loss of their Mother

However BELOW here she is driving her British MG Motor Car :-

Diana Lynn in Her MG Car

BELOW In Rogues of Sherwood Forest as Lady Marianne. Here below are scenes from the film :-


Rogues of Sherwood Forest

Rogues of Sherwood Forest 2

John Derek

Rogues of Sherwood Forest - a break from filming

Above John Derek – Rogues of Sherwood Forest with Diana Lynn



Bedtime for Bonzo

She was in the  Film Bedtime for Bonzo with Ronald Reagan.

Diana Lynn also appeared on the stage, winning critical acclaim in London and Los Angeles as the feminine lead in “The Moon is Blue.” In 1963, she starred on Broadway in Jean Kerr’s “Mary, Mary.”

Diana Lynn has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: for Films, at 1625 Vine Street, and for television, at 6350 Hollywood Boulevard.

Maybe she should also have acclaim for her prowess as a classical pianist – I , for one, think she should.


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