Rohda Lawrence, a show business veteran whose career spanned five decades, has died. She was 71.
Lawrence died Sunday at Sherman Oaks Hospital of pulmonary fibrosis, said Harold (Hal) Cranton, her husband of 47 years.
Born Rohda June Bloomstein in Springfield, Mass., on April 3, 1924, Lawrence studied theater and voice at the Julius Hartt School of Music in Hartford, Conn., graduating in 1941.
For the Record
Los Angeles Times Wednesday August 9, 1995 Valley Edition Metro Part B Page 3 No Desk 1 inches; 25 words Type of Material: Correction
Name--The first name of actress Rodha Lawrence was misspelled in her obituary published Saturday. Also her daughter, who was not identified by name, is Nina Cranton of Van Nuys.
During World War II, she joined the Navy WAVES, becoming one of the first women to serve in the Naval Air Corps.
Once, while stationed in Kansas, Lawrence found herself on a train with actress Katharine Hepburn, who befriended her, according to Cranton. Hepburn eventually set up an audition for her, which led to her landing a role in the Broadway production of "Oklahoma!" After attending the American Theater Guild's training program for performers who had served in the war, Lawrence appeared on Broadway in "Carousel" and in several commercials and off-Broadway productions.
A feminist who was known for her quick wit, Lawrence attributed the unconventional spelling of her first name to a spelling error by her father. "She was very sensitive about that. She would always make sure people spelled it correctly," said Cranton, a former actor and broadcast executive who married Lawrence within months of meeting her at WOR radio in New York.
The Crantons lived in New York for 36 years before heading west, settling in Van Nuys in 1984.
Lawrence's list of credits includes feature films such as "The World According to Garp," "Paternity" and "Marathon Man." She also appeared on numerous soap operas, including "All My Children," "One Life to Live" and "The Guiding Light."
Lawrence was a longtime member of the Screen Actors Guild, the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, and Actors Equity.
In tribute to Lawrence's frankness and keen sense of humor, the family chose as her epitaph "Forward My Residuals."
"She had a marvelous sense of humor. . . . She would have loved it," said Cranton.
In addition to her husband and daughter, she is survived by her brother, producer Saul David of Sherman Oaks.
A funeral was held Wednesday. Memorial donations may be made to the American Lung Assn.