January 26, 1925 - October 12, 2015 Joan Leslie Caldwell, one of the stars of stage and screen in the golden age of Hollywood, died October 12, 2015, at age 90, in Los Angeles, CA. Born in Detroit, Michigan, the youngest daughter of John Brodel, a bank teller, and Agnes, pianist and homemaker, Joan and her two sisters, Mary and Betty, performed on stage in their hometown and New York City, later touring from Canada to Florida. When a talent scout saw them perform and signed her older sister Mary to a contract at MGM, the family moved to Burbank, CA and at fifteen, Joan was screen testing with Warner Brothers, winning the coveted role of the crippled girl in High Sierra with Humphrey Bogart. The next year, she was selected as Gary Cooper's leading lady in Sergeant York. She celebrated her seventeenth birthday on the set of Yankee Doodle Dandy, in the role of the wife of Academy Award winner James Cagney. She co-starred in over 30 films, including The Sky's the Limit, Thank Your Lucky Stars, Hollywood Canteen, Rhapsody in Blue, This is the Army, and Repeat Performance. Following her marriage in 1950 to Los Angeles physician William G. Caldwell, she shifted her attention to family and charitable activities, including Father Patrick Peyton's Family Theatre radio series and St. Anne's Maternity Home. After her twin daughters were grown, she returned to television to make commercials and an occasional appearance in a drama series, including Charlie Hannah with Robert Conrad, Fire in the Dark with Olympia Dukakis and TV shows Charlie's Angels, The Incredible Hulk, Police Story, Simon and Simon, and Murder She Wrote. She continued her involvement in parish work, the Los Angeles Public Library after-school reading program, and the advisory board of the Damon Runyan Cancer Fund. Funeral mass will be celebrated at 10:00 am on October 19 at Our Mother of Good Counsel Church. In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Our Mother of Good Counsel Church, 2060 N Vermont Ave, LA, 90027 or St. Anne's, 155 N Occidental Blvd. LA, 90026.
Published in Los Angeles Times from Oct. 15 to Oct. 17, 2015.