Of course, nobody ever heard about Linda Danson. The only inkling she has to fame was her private life that connected her closely to a man, who, while a star back his day, is also obscure now.
Linda Danson was born as Elizabeth V. Danson on September 13, 1926, in Jacksonville, Florida, to Harry and Gussie Danson. She was their third child, after Harry Jr. and Evelyn. Her younger sister Violet was born four years later, in 1930.
Again, little is known about her early life, expect that she lived in Florida until about 1945, and then went to California to find work. She trekked to New York at some time, and became a model, living in the Barbizon Hotel for women. She became a Copa (Copacabana) Girl in the late 1940s.
She acted in both movies and TV, and did not receive any credit for her Hollywood work. But, the movies she appeared in were all solid if not A class with big stars of the day. There was Drive a Crooked Road with Mickey Rooney, and The Prodigal with Lana Turner and The Glass Slipper with Leslie Caron. Even the less known movies like The Great Diamond Robbery, Combat Squad and The Adventures of Hajji Baba featured actors not completely forgotten today: Red Skelton, John Derek, John Ireland. Too bad, if she had only netted credited parts, perhaps something could have been done for her…
She got credit for her TV work. None of the series are well remembered today, with the possible exception of Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok that lasted for seven seasons in the 1950s.
It, it is clear Linda had no chance of being a full time actress, as she did not go down the golden road for actresses (become a star, or get solid work in character parts) early enough. She had no credits after 1955, making her a Hollywood retiree at age of 29.
Linda made ehr name as a dancer, but mingled with the higher ups. A short notices in the papers:
Comedian Jimmy Durante seems somewhat startled at the result as dancer Linda Danson carves his likeness, in New York. Perhaps Jimmy’s doubtful about that big nose that Linda is working on so faithfully.
Linda knew how to date, and how to date well. No, she never had a star of Clark Gable’s caliber after her, but her beaus were constantly impressive show biz names. Her first newspaper acknowledged beau was disk jockey Bill Williams in 1949. She switched to the famous comedian Jimmy Durante next year, in 1950. It is unknown what happened in her dating life for the next three years. She ended up with another comedian, Joe Lewis, in 1953. That same year she was wooed by Linda Darnell’s former husband, Pev Marley.
Then, in 1954, she started to date Jon Hall, who was to be her paramount up until 1958. I find their relationship very intriguing. They were supposed to be wed after Hall got his divorce from Frances Langford. Eventually, Jon and Frances did divorce, nut no nuptials took place. Jon and Linda were seemingly very close to the altar in late 1955 – she was trousseau shopping, and the press went wild with guessing when and where will they wed.
After this period the relationship slowly changed and perhaps, decayed. Small signs gave them away. In 1956, Hall started dating other girls on the side, with her full knowledge. She danced all night with other men (Al Herd). They were in New York at the same time but did not see each other. He went filming a series in Hawaii, she anticipated him dating local girls and went to Mexico to date wealthy Fernando Parra (who was for a long time the boyfriend of Maureen O’Hara).
They allegedly broke up in late 1957, were on again in early 1958, but nothing was the same again. While she was sick, he took out other girls and rumors of an eminent breakup constantly dogged them. It seems to me that the relationship ran it’s course a long time ago, but both were so used to each other they tried to extend it any way they could, artificially or not. The person that finally snapped it was Raquel Torres, widow of Stephen Ames – there is a slight overlap between the end of Linda and Jon’s relationship, and the beginning of Jon and Raquel’s, but he obviously did that a lot earlier so no big surprises there. The final breakup came in late 1958. In 1959, Jon married Raquel.
Linda was stick for a long time, and the last we hear of her from the newspapers, is a report that she was dating Peter Monahan in 1960. in 1966, she was a constant duet with Harry Richman.
Linda Danson died young, on March 17, 1975, at age 48, in Los Angeles.