Diana Douglas

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Diana Douglas
Diana Douglas.jpg
Diana Love Dill

(1923-01-22)January 22, 1923
DiedJuly 3, 2015(2015-07-03) (aged 92)
Nationality Bermudian
Years active1942–2008
Kirk Douglas
(m. 1943;div. 1951)

Bill Darrid
(m. 1956;died 1992)

Donald Webster(m. 2002)
Children Michael (b. 1944)
Joel (b. 1947)
Parent(s) Thomas Melville Dill (1876–1945)
Ruth Rapalje (née Neilson) (1880–1973)

Diana Love Webster (née Dill; formerly Douglas and Darrid; January 22, 1923 – July 3, 2015) was an American actress, born in Bermuda who was known for her marriage to actor Kirk Douglas, from 1943 until their divorce in 1951. Diana Douglas was the mother of Michael and Joel Douglas.

Bermuda British overseas territory in the North Atlantic Ocean

Bermuda is a British Overseas Territory in the North Atlantic Ocean. It is approximately 1,070 km (665 mi) east-southeast of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina; 1,236 km (768 mi) south of Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia; and 1,759 km (1,093 mi) northeast of Cuba. The capital city is Hamilton. Bermuda is self-governing, with its own constitution and its own government, which enacts local laws, while the United Kingdom retains responsibility for defence and foreign relations. As of July 2018, its population is 71,176, the highest of the British overseas territories.

Kirk Douglas American actor

Kirk Douglas is an American actor, filmmaker, and author. A centenarian, he is one of the last surviving stars of the film industry's Golden Age. After an impoverished childhood with immigrant parents and six sisters, he had his film debut in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers (1946) with Barbara Stanwyck. Douglas soon developed into a leading box-office star throughout the 1950s, known for serious dramas, including westerns and war movies. During his career, he appeared in more than 90 movies. Douglas is known for his explosive acting style.

Michael Douglas American actor and producer

Michael Kirk Douglas is an American actor and producer. He has received numerous accolades, including two Academy Awards, five Golden Globe Awards, a Primetime Emmy Award, the Cecil B. DeMille Award, and the AFI Life Achievement Award.


In 1942, Douglas began her career as an actress and appeared in more than 50 films. Some of her well-known roles were as Susan Rogers in The Indian Fighter (co-starring Kirk Douglas) and as Peg in Planes, Trains and Automobiles . She was also known for her recurring role as Martha Evans in Days of Our Lives (1977–79, 1982). In 2003, she appeared in It Runs in the Family with her ex-husband Kirk, her son Michael and her grandson Cameron. She retired from acting in 2008.

<i>The Indian Fighter</i> 1955 film by André de Toth

The Indian Fighter is a 1955 American CinemaScope and Technicolor Western film directed by Andre DeToth and based upon an original story by Robert L. Richards. The film was the first of star Kirk Douglas's Bryna Productions that was released through United Artists. The film co-stars Elsa Martinelli, Walter Matthau, Lon Chaney, Jr. and Kirk Douglas's ex-wife Diana Douglas.

<i>Planes, Trains and Automobiles</i> 1987 American comedy film directed by John Hughes

Planes, Trains and Automobiles is a 1987 American comedy film written, produced, and directed by John Hughes. The film stars Steve Martin as Neal Page, a high-strung marketing executive, and John Candy as Del Griffith, a goodhearted but annoying shower curtain ring salesman. They share a three-day odyssey of misadventures trying to get Neal home to Chicago in time for Thanksgiving with his family.

<i>Days of Our Lives</i> daytime soap opera

Days of Our Lives is an American daytime soap opera broadcast on the NBC television network. It is one of the longest-running scripted television programs in the world, airing nearly every weekday since November 8, 1965. It has since been syndicated to many countries around the world. Until the network's closure in 2013, Soapnet rebroadcast episodes of Days on a same-day basis each weeknight at 8:00 and 10:00. The series was created by husband-and-wife team Ted Corday and Betty Corday. Irna Phillips was a story editor for Days of Our Lives and many of the show's earliest storylines were written by William J. Bell.

Early life

She was born in Devonshire, Bermuda, on January 22, 1923. [1] Her father, Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Melville Dill (also the name of her great-grandfather, a mariner), [2] was a former Member of the Colonial Parliament (MCP) (representing the Parish of Devonshire in the Parliament of Bermuda), Attorney General of Bermuda, and former Commanding Officer of the Bermuda Militia Artillery. Her mother Ruth Rapalje (née Neilson) had roots in New Jersey. Douglas' brother Bayard was a prominent lawyer and politician. Her sister Ruth was married to John Seward Johnson I, heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune. Douglas' father was from a prominent Bermudian family, present on the island since the early 17th century.

Devonshire Parish parish of Bermuda

Devonshire Parish is one of the nine parishes of Bermuda. Originally named "Cavendish Tribe" and later "Devonshire Tribe. It is named for William Cavendish, 1st Earl of Devonshire (1552–1626). He had never visited Bermuda himself, despite a parish being named after him. Devonshire Redoubt, on Castle Island, one of the Castle Harbour fortifications of St. George's Parish, was also named after him.

Thomas Melville Dill Bermudian lawyer, politician and soldier

Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas Melville Dill OBE was a prominent Bermudian lawyer, politician and soldier.

Parliament of Bermuda

The Parliament of Bermuda is the bicameral legislature in the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda. The two houses are:

Her ancestry included English, Irish, Welsh, Dutch, Scottish, Belgian and French. [3] Douglas was brought up in the Church of England. [4]

Church of England Anglican state church of England

The Church of England is the established church of England. The Archbishop of Canterbury is the most senior cleric, although the monarch is the supreme governor. The Church of England is also the mother church of the international Anglican Communion. It traces its history to the Christian church recorded as existing in the Roman province of Britain by the third century, and to the 6th-century Gregorian mission to Kent led by Augustine of Canterbury.


In 1942, she began her career in a minor, uncredited role in Keeper of the Flame . [5] She went on to appear in many films during the 1950s and 1960s, one of her most notable roles arguably being Susan Rogers in The Indian Fighter . During the 1960s and 1970s, she appeared in a variety of television programs (such as the General Electric Theater and Naked City ), her best known television role being Lily Chernak Donnelly on Love Is a Many Splendored Thing .

<i>Keeper of the Flame</i> (film) 1943 film by George Cukor

Keeper of the Flame is a 1943 Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) drama film directed by George Cukor, and starring Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn.

<i>General Electric Theater</i> television series

General Electric Theater was an American anthology series hosted by Ronald Reagan that was broadcast on CBS radio and television. The series was sponsored by General Electric's Department of Public Relations.

<i>Naked City</i> (TV series) American television series

Naked City is a police drama series from Screen Gems which was broadcast from 1958 to 1959 and from 1960 to 1963 on the ABC television network. It was inspired by the 1948 motion picture The Naked City and mimics its dramatic "semi-documentary" format. As in the film, each episode concluded with a narrator intoning the iconic line: "There are eight million stories in the naked city. This has been one of them."

She played Poco on Three Steps to Heaven and Martha Evans in Days of Our Lives . Following the cancellation of Love Is a Many Splendored Thing, she played Annie Andersen in The Cowboys . She appeared in Roots: The Next Generations and The Waltons . In It Runs in the Family , Douglas appeared with her former husband, Kirk Douglas, son Michael and grandson Cameron, and later appeared on an episode of CBS's Cold Case and in the Season 15 ER episode "Heal Thyself" (2008), the year that she retired from acting.

Three Steps to Heaven is an American soap opera that aired on NBC from August 3, 1953 to December 31, 1954. It was created by Irving Vendig. Don Pardo was the announcer.

<i>The Cowboys</i> (TV series) TV series

The Cowboys is a short-lived Western television series based on the 1972 motion picture of the same name starring John Wayne. It aired on the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) television network from February 6 to May 8, 1974. The television show starred Jim Davis, Diana Douglas, Moses Gunn, A Martinez, Robert Carradine, and Clay O'Brien. David Dortort, best known for Bonanza and The High Chaparral, produced the series. The television show, like the movie, followed the exploits of seven boys who worked on a ranch in 1870s New Mexico. The Cowboys began as an hour-long series, but ABC decided to reduce running time to a half-hour format.

<i>Roots: The Next Generations</i> American TV miniseries

Roots: The Next Generations is an American television miniseries, introduced in 1979, continuing, from 1882 to the 1960s, the fictionalized story of the family of Alex Haley and their life in Henning, Lauderdale County, Tennessee, USA. This sequel to the 1977 miniseries is based on the last seven chapters of Haley's novel entitled Roots: The Saga of an American Family plus additional material by Haley.

In 1999, her autobiography, In the Wings: A Memoir , was published. [6] [7] [8]

Personal life

Dill was married to Kirk Douglas. [9] The two had met as acting students before the Second World War. During the war, Douglas was serving in the U.S. Navy when he saw the May 3, 1943, issue of Life magazine, which featured a photograph of Dill on the cover. [10] He showed the cover to his shipmates and said that he would marry her. [11] The two were married on November 2, 1943. They had two sons, Michael and Joel, before divorcing in 1951. [12]

She married actor Bill Darrid, and the couple lived with her sons on the East Coast of the United States until his death in 1992. In 2002, Douglas married Donald Webster in the old Devonshire Parish Church in Bermuda. [13] [14] [15]


On July 3, 2015, Douglas, a breast cancer survivor, died at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, Los Angeles of an undisclosed form of cancer at the age of 92. [5] [16]


1943 Keeper of the Flame Forward American GirlUncredited
1947 The Late George Apley SarahUncredited
1948 Let's Live Again Terry
1948 The Sign of the Ram Catherine Woolton
1949 House of Strangers Elaine Monetti
1949 The Whistle at Eaton Falls Ruth Adamsa.k.a. Richer Than the Earth (UK)
1952 Storm Over Tibet Elaine March Simmsa.k.a. Mask of the Himalayas (USA: alternative title) a.k.a. Sturm über Tibet (West Germany)
1952 Monsoon Julia
1955 The Indian Fighter Susan Rogers
1970 Loving Mrs. Shavelson
1975Dead Man on the RunMegTV film
1977Tail Gunner JoeSarahTV film
1977Alexander: The Other Side of DawnClara DuncanTV film
1977Billy: Portrait of a Street KidMrs. BedfordTV film
1977 Mary White Jane AddamsTV film
1977 Another Man, Another Chance Mary's mother
1978Night CriesMrs. ThuesonTV film
1978 A Fire in the Sky Mrs. ReardenTV film
1981Jaws of SatanEvelyn Downsa.k.a. King Cobra
1982 Sister, Sister RhodaTV film
1983 The Star Chamber Adrian Caulfield
1987 Planes, Trains and Automobiles Peg
1991 Cold Heaven Mother St. Agnes
1992A Town Torn ApartMrs. FennTV film
aka Doc: The Dennis Littky Story
2003 It Runs in the Family Evelyn Gromberg

Television credits

1949 Photocrime
1950Masterpiece PlayhouseEpisode: "The Rivals"
1950The WebEpisode: "Key Witness"
1951 Kraft Television Theatre Episode: "Mr. Mergenthwirker's Lobblies"
1952 Armstrong Circle Theatre Episode: "Mr. Bemiss Takes a Trip"
1953Studio OneEpisode: "Greed"
aka Studio One Summer Theatre (summer title) a.k.a. Studio One in Hollywood (new title) a.k.a. Summer Theatre (summer title) a.k.a. Westinghouse Studio One a.k.a. Westinghouse Summer Theatre (summer title)
1953 Robert Montgomery Presents Episode: "Element of Risk"
1953Medallion TheatreEpisode: "The Decision at Arrowsmith"
1953 Three Steps to Heaven Mary Claire "Pogo" Thurmond Morgan #2
1953Willys Theatre Presenting Ben Hecht's Tales of the CityEpisode: "Count Bruga"
1955 General Electric Theater NoraEpisode: "The Seeds of Hate"
aka G.E. Theater (USA: informal short title)
1956 Medic Edith MartinEpisodes: "Reach of the Giant: Part 1", "Reach of the Giant: Part 2"
1956 Science Fiction Theatre Elaine Conover
Jane Brandon
Episode: "Brain Unlimited"
Episode: "End of Tomorrow"
1956West PointMrs. Jan WillisEpisode: "Officer's Wife"
1956–57Robert Montgomery PresentsCarla Major
Mrs. Whitton-Betty
Episode: "Goodbye, Grey Flannel"
Episode: "Wait for Me"
1959Armstrong Circle TheatreMrs. Donald JewkesEpisode: "Miracle at Spring Hill"
1959 Naked City Meg Peters
Hilda Wallace
Episode: "The Scorpion Sting"
Episode: "Even Crows Sing Good"
1964 Flipper Mrs. GranvilleEpisode: "The Second Time Around"
1965 For the People Bernice BrandonEpisode: "The Influence of Fear"
1965 Ben Casey Martha EnglishEpisode: "War of Nerves"
1967 N.Y.P.D. Mrs. WhitakerEpisode: "The Boy Witness"
197073 Love Is a Many Splendored Thing Lily Chernak Donnelly
1973 Hawkins Clara GuilfoyleEpisode: "Die, Darling, Die"
1973 Kung Fu Sister RichardsonEpisode: "The Tong"
1974 The Streets of San Francisco Mrs. Adele SloaneEpisode: "Chapel of the Damned"
1974 The Cowboys Annie Andersen
1974–75 Cannon Mrs. Foxworth
Alex Parks
Episode: "The Avenger" (1974)
Episode: "The Deadly Conspiracy" (1975)
1975 Barnaby Jones Alice ParksEpisode: "The Deadly Conspiracy: Part 2"
1977 Lou Grant Norma CardellEpisode: "Hoax"
1979 Roots: The Next Generations Mrs. Andy Warner
1979 The Waltons Mrs. DenmanEpisodes: "The Journal", "The Violated", "The Waiting"
1980 Knots Landing Dr. Charlotte KramerEpisodes: "Bottom of the Bottle: Part 2", "Remember the Good Times"
1981 Nero Wolfe Sarah RackhamEpisode: "In the Best Families"
1981 CHiPs Vera BariczaEpisode: "The Hawk and the Hunter"
1982Lou GrantCarole FullerEpisode: "Review"
1982 Remington Steele Hannah DillonEpisode: "Tempered Steele"
1983 Cagney & Lacey BlancheEpisode: "The Gang's All Here"
1983 Dallas Dr. Suzanne LaceyEpisode: "The Letter"
1984 Scarecrow and Mrs. King Evelyn McGuireEpisode: "I Am Not Now, nor Have I Ever Been... a Spy"
1986 Hardcastle and McCormick FrancesEpisode: "Hardcastle for Mayor"
1985–86 The Paper Chase Professor Tyler
1987 Beauty and the Beast Margaret ChaseEpisode: "Song of Orpheus"
1993 Dark Justice Mrs. CollinsEpisode: "My Dinner with Nick"
1993 Harts of the West BettyEpisode: "Jake's Brother"
2004 The West Wing Libby LassiterEpisode: "The Stormy Present"
2007 Cold Case Mrs. Valentine '07Episode: "Devil Music"
2008 ER Bertha MendenhallEpisode: "Heal Thyself"


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  1. Zumberge, Marianne (July 4, 2015). "Diana Douglas Webster, mother of Michael Douglas, ex-wife of Kirk Douglas, dies at 92". Boston Herald . Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  2. "Actress Diana Dill from Bermuda". Bernews . Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  3. Douglas 1999, p. 17.
  4. Galloway, Stephen (2010-11-29). "Michael Douglas: One Hell of a Year". The Hollywood Reporter . Retrieved 2010-12-17.
  5. 1 2 Barnes, Mike (July 4, 2015). "Actress Diana Douglas, Mother of Michael and Ex-Wife of Kirk, Dies at 92". The Hollywood Reporter. Archived from the original on July 4, 2015. Retrieved July 4, 2015.
  6. "In the Wings: A Memoir". Publishers Weekly . Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  7. "Picks and Pans Review: In the Wings". People . September 6, 1999. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  8. "Film Was Family Affair For Diana Douglas". Bernews. March 1, 2011. Retrieved October 27, 2015.
  9. "Film Was Family Affair For Diana Douglas". Bernews. March 1, 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  10. "Front Cover". Life . Time Inc: 1. 3 May 1943. ISSN   0024-3019.
  11. "Bermudian actress Diana Douglas back in Life". The Royal Gazette . May 13, 1993. Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  12. "Diana Douglas Given Final Divorce Decree". Toledo Blade . Toledo, Ohio. February 24, 1951. p. 2. Retrieved 31 October 2015 via Google News Archive.
  13. "Michael Douglas' Mum Weds at 79". Hello . December 30, 2002. Retrieved July 25, 2015.
  14. Breen, Stephen (December 30, 2002). "Rain fails to dampen Dill Douglas Darrid wedding celebration". The Royal Gazette . Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  15. Breen, Stephen (December 27, 2002). "Diana's wedding gift to Bermuda". The Royal Gazette . Retrieved 31 October 2015.
  16. Zumberge, Marianne (July 4, 2015). "Diana Douglas Webster, Mother of Michael Douglas, Ex-Wife of Kirk Douglas, Dies at 92". Variety . Archived from the original on July 4, 2015. Retrieved July 4, 2015.