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Fay McKenzie (1918–2019), actress whose career spanned 100 years

Getty Images / Republic Pictures

She was Gene Autry's leading lady in the 1940s

Fay McKenzie had an acting career that spanned from her first appearance in a 1918 silent film at just 10 weeks old to a final cameo in the yet to be released "Kill a Better Mousetrap." In the 100 years between the two, McKenzie was a child actress in more silent films, then grew up to star as Gene Autry's leading lady in five Westerns including "Down Mexico Way" and "Heart of the Rio Grande." She also appeared in several movies for director Blake Edwards, playing the hostess in "The Party" as well as uncredited roles in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and "S.O.B."

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Died: April 16, 2019 (Who else died on April 16?)

Details of death: Died in her sleep in Los Angeles at the age of 101.


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A Hollywood native: McKenzie was born in Hollywood, the daughter of showbiz parents. Her father, Robert McKenzie, was an actor and director, while her mother, Eva, was an actor. Her family connections got her that first role as a baby, and she continued to work with her parents as a child actor. She passed the family business along to her son, Tom Waldman Jr., also an actor.

McKenzie on starring in Westerns with Autry: “I loved working with Gene, he was terrific! I could sing and that was something the earlier girls couldn't do. [Republic Pictures President Robert J.] Yates knew I had done Broadway; that helped! I could do more than smile and wave at the cowboy!” —From an interview with westernclippings.com

Full obituary: New York Times

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