Caryl Arlene Smith-Givens

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Born to Glenn and Anna Smith in Portland, Oregon, 1916, Caryl lived and loved life the way she proclaimed it, with vim and vigor. It was in high school where she won first place in declamatory events for her dramatic and oratorical ability and vice-presidency of her senior class. She was given directorship of the Declamatory Program while winning favor from her instructor, Mr. Countryman, drama and stage production. Caryl attended Cornish School of Art with a full scholarship which cleared the way to her acting and radio career. She traveled across the country 1939 to New York City. There she won the title of Miss Television at the World's Fair and began to study under Gertrude Lawrence. She made her radio debut in 1941 on Columbia Network Radio, Maudie's Dairy. Caryl worked on stage for Orson Wells Mercury Theater Productions while modeling for John Robert Powers. She continued working in radio doing the voices of Pinocchio, Snow White and Grimm's Fairy Tales and was heard nationally on both CBS and NBC radio stations. She met Robert Givens in 1941, then in the army and on leave from Disney Studios. Caryl was working for the Bob Hope Tour in Chicago when Mr. Hope sent for Robert to join Caryl for what was to be an engagement/wedding party. They were married in Los Angeles in 1945 and Caryl continued working in radio while visiting her parents who lived in Santa Barbara. It was thirty years later that she vowed to return to Santa Barbara as she felt it was her spiritual home. Caryl was an avid reader, poetic writer, painter, decorator, gardener, and loved learning collage at Shotz Center where she cultivated many friendships. Her stunning beauty, contemporary style and sophistication paired with her enchanting voice contributed to her timeless beauty and charm. Caryl leaves behind her former husband Robert Givens of Burbank, Christopher Givens, son, Mariana Givens, daughter, Sam Givens, grandson James Rogers, cousin, and nieces and nephews.

Published in The Santa Barbara News-Press Online Edition from Aug. 31 to Sept. 4, 2014