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Charron Follett Traut, accomplished actress of stage, film and television, passed away on Saturday, August 17, 2013, in Hinsdale, Ill. Charron was born in 1933 in River Forest, Ill., to Robert and Glenna Follett. She took the stage at age 5 in the title role of Heidi at Chicago's Civic Theatre in 1938, beginning a remarkable acting career that spanned seven decades. Through her teenage years, Charron worked professionally in radio and television in Chicago before moving to New York in the 1950s to perform on stage and in a series of dramatic roles for broadcast television. A protégé of Helen Hayes, and Lillian and Dorothy Gish, Charron shared the stage and screen with these and other noted actors, including Claude Rains, Jessica Tandy, and Hume Cronyn. In 1956, Charron married Richard "Dick" Traut of Oak Park, a lieutenant in the U.S. Army at the time. Later Dick joined the Follett family business and the couple moved to Hinsdale to raise their family. Charron continued to pursue acting at the Theatre of Western Springs (TWS), performing for over 45 years in 34 plays and over 300 performances between 1962 and 2009. In 2004, she was named Active Laureate at TWS, where she remained a devoted member until her death. Charron attended Oak Park and River Forest High School, and studied acting at Northwestern University. She received a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, where she earned a degree. Charron also earned a degree from the University of London. While in England pursuing her studies, she was presented to Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in 1953. Charron F. Traut is survived by her husband, Dick, her children, Christopher D. (Lee) Traut and Sabrina T. (Patrick) Usher, her grandchildren, Benjamin and Catherine Traut, Alexandra, Samantha, James and Christopher Usher, her sister Dona (Paul Richard "Dick) Litzsinger, as well as many nieces and nephews. Charron is preceded in death by her daughter, Victoria Ann Traut, and her sister, Michelle "Shelley" F. (Robert) Iverson. Visitation is scheduled for Thursday, August 22nd, from 4:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Adolf Funeral Home, 7000 S. Madison Street, Willowbrook. Family and friends will meet on Friday, August 23rd, at 10:30 a.m. for Mass at Notre Dame Catholic Church, 64 Norfolk Avenue, Clarendon Hills. Services will conclude at the church. In lieu of flowers, donations to the Foundation of the Theater of Western Springs 4384 Hampton Avenue, Western Springs, IL 60558 would be appreciated. Service information: 630-325-2300 or www.adolfservices.com.
Published in a Chicago Tribune Media Group Publication on Aug. 21, 2013
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