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Dianne Foster

Personal information
Birth nameOlga Helen Laruska
Birth dateOctober 31, 1928(age 88)
Place of birthEdmonton, Alberta
SpouseJoel Murcott (1954-59) (divorced)

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Dianne Foster is a Canadian actress of Ukrainian descent who began her career at the age of 13 in a stage adaptation of James Barrie's What Every Woman Knows. At fourteen, she began a radio career and subsequently moved to Toronto and became one of Canada's top radio stars. For a holiday in 1951, she traveled to London, England, where she met and later married Andrew Allen, drama supervisor for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In London that same year, she appeared onstage in Agatha Christie's The Hollow and Orson Welles's Othello. In March 1952, her husband returned to Canada while she stayed in London to honour her five-year contract with a British film company.

In 1953 she co-starred alongside Charlton Heston and Lizabeth Scott in the middling Bad for Each Other. In 1954 she was signed by Columbia Pictures and relocated to Hollywood, where her first appearance proper that year was with Mickey Rooney in the well-received Drive a Crooked Road.

Foster's marriage was effectively over before she left for the United States, and in 1954 she married Joel A. Murcott, a Hollywood radio-television scriptwriter, during location filming for The Kentuckian. At 39, he was 14 years her senior and had been married previously.

The year 1955 was a big year for Foster. She appeared on the cover of Picturegoer and co-starred in two big films, Glenn Ford's The Bandits and Burt Lancaster's The Kentuckian.

On February 14, 1956, she gave birth to twins: a son, Jason, and a daughter, Jodi. Although her film career continued, it was not on the same upward trajectory as before. In 1957, she co-starred in the biopic Monkey on My Back about boxer Barney Ross, Night Passage with James Stewart and The Brothers Rico with Richard Conte. That same year, she also filed for divorce from Murcott, claiming he struck her in the face and kicked her in the stomach. She asked for custody and $1 in token alimony. The couple reconciled, but it proved to be temporary as they separated twice more before finally divorcing in 1959, with Foster being awarded $250 a month in child support. It was the third time she had filed for divorce, and she gave her age as 24, although she was in fact 31.

In 1958 she had starred with Alan Ladd in The Deep Six, and that same year she appeared alongside Jack Hawkins in Gideon of Scotland Yard before her last really big picture, The Last Hurrah. It featured an all-star cast, including Spencer Tracy, Pat O'Brien, and Basil Rathbone, and was nominated for two BAFTA awards.

In 1960 Foster was the title guest star in the episode "Lawyer in Petticoats" on the short-lived NBC western series Overland Trail starring William Bendix and Doug McClure. Her fellow guest stars were Barton MacLane and Denver Pyle. Foster also appeared in the episode "The Mill" in the TV series Bonanza.

There was a three-year absence before she next returned to the screen, in King of the Roaring 20's - The Story of Arnold Rothstein. In the meantime, she had married Dr. Harold Rowe, a Van Nuys dentist. On November 14, 1963, her son Dustin Louis Rowe was born in Los Angeles. In the same year, she made her last film appearance, in the Dean Martin vehicle Who's Been Sleeping in My Bed?.

Foster continued to appear in television programs, such as CBS's The Lloyd Bridges Show (1962 1963) and the ABC medical drama Breaking Point (1963 1964). She retired from show business in 1966 to concentrate on rearing her three children. She still lives in California and is an accomplished pianist and painter.


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