Laughing Gravy mentioned this in a discussion thread over In the Balcony, but it was Harry Heuser at Broadcastellan who provided me with the news that actress Laraine Day has left us at the age of 87. (Check out this version of the obit from a New Zealand paper, which seems to suggest that Day let herself go in later years to the point where she ended up resembling Alfred Hitchcock.) Brother Harry has a nice rundown on Day’s various radio appearances, so take time from your busy web surfing schedule and give it a quick read. The only one I’m familiar with, unfortunately, is her “cameo” appearance on The Big Show from February 4, 1951 in which she appears with then-husband…well, I forget his name right off. I know he used to manage a baseball team that once put down stakes in Brooklyn. (Okay, I’m kidding—it’s Leo “the Lip” Durocher.)
In his post, Harry points out that Day’s long-lasting film legacy was her recurring role as Nurse Molly Lamont in MGM’s Dr. Kildare series from Calling Dr. Kildare (1939) to Dr. Kildare’s Wedding Day (1941). Day could never really be considered a big film star, but she was a likable presence in films, and appeared in such gems as Tarzan Finds a Son! (1939), Foreign Correspondent (1940), Mr. Lucky (1943), The High and the Mighty (1954)…and one of your humble narrator’s personal favorites, I Married a Communist (1949, a.k.a. The Woman on Pier 13). She was also one of the first silver screen actresses to dip her toe in the vast body of water we’ll call television; she started a pre-game show on WPIX-TV in 1950 interviewing members of Durocher’s New York Giants, and later tackled a talk show in 1951, Daydreaming with Laraine.
To the “first lady of baseball,” we say R.I.P., Ms. Day. You will be missed.