'Eileen,' Musicals Star Blair Dies
The actress passed away on Monday, Feb. 19 from complications of pneumonia at Saint John's Health Center in
Born Martha Janet Lafferty in 1921 in Altoona, Pa., Blair got her first taste of performing while singing in the church choir and taking voice and dance lessons at the Ruth Barnes School of Dance. She landed an audition with bandleader Hal Kemp through a family friend, and by 1940, she had hit the road to sing with his band at the Cocoanut Grove in
A year later, Kemp died in a traffic accident, but by this time Blair had bee spotted by a Columbia Pictures talent scout. After the musicians disbanded, she switched to movies by signing a $100 a week contract with the studio.
Her career was filled with fairly lackluster roles until
At that point, she left films because her roles were just the stereotypical fawning females. Blair moved to the stage by playing
The '40s and '50s brought Blair to TV, and she appeared in "Ford Theatre," "Philco TV Playhouse," "Lux Video Theatre" and "U.S. Steel Hour." She also starred opposite
Blair is survived by her two children.