Joan Leslie (1925 - 2015)

Joan Leslie, an American movie actress during Hollywood's golden age who appeared later on television, has died.

Leslie, who died Monday in Los Angeles, was 90. The cause of death was not announced.

She was the leading lady for Humphrey Bogart in 1941's "High Sierra"; Fred Astaire in 1943's "The Sky's the Limit"; and Gary Cooper in 1941's "Sergeant York."


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Leslie was born Jan. 26, 1925, in Detroit as Joan Brodel. Her stage name was changed later to Joan Leslie to avoid confusion with the actress Joan Blondell.

Leslie got her start in showbiz during the Great Depression, joining her two older sisters, Betty and Mary Brodel as vaudeville performers.

A talent scout signed Leslie to a short contract with MGM after seeing one of the sisters' performances. She didn't have many roles, however, and left the studio after the contract was up.

Her first credited role was in "Winter Carnival" in 1939. Two years later, she signed with Warner Bros. Among her other films were "The Hard Way," "Thank Your Lucky Stars," "Rhapsody in Blue" and "Born To Be Bad."

In the 1950s, her film work declined and she made sporadic appearances on television. She also married Los Angeles physician William G. Caldwell and started a family in the early '50s.

Her final acting role came in 1991 with the TV movie "Fire in the Dark."

In 2005, she reflected on her early Warner Bros. film experiences during an interview at a film festival in Williamsburg, Virginia.

"In two weeks, I was assigned to play with Humphrey Bogart, in 'High Sierra,' she said. "I was 15 - isn't that amazing?"

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