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Actress Joan Bennett Dead At 80

December 10, 1990 GMT

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. (AP) _ Actress Joan Bennett, who played opposite Katharine Hepburn in ″Little Women″ and was Elizabeth Taylor’s mother in ″Father of the Bride,″ has died at age 80.

Miss Bennett died Friday night at White Plains Hospital after suffering a heart attack at her home in Scarsdale north of New York City, said her husband, David Wilde.

″I don’t think much of most of the films I made,″ she said in 1986. ″But being a movie star was something I liked very much.″

Among her 75 film credits are the 1933 classic ″Little Women,″ in which she played one of the sisters, as did Miss Hepburn.

In Vincente Minnelli’s 1950 comedy ″Father of the Bride,″ Miss Bennett played a nurturing mother, shedding the husky-voiced presence she had developed for Fritz Lang’s thriller films.

Miss Bennett’s film credits also include ″For Heaven’s Sake,″ and ″Desire in the Dust.″

In 1951, she was the protagonist in a Hollywood scandal when her then- husband, producer Walter Wanger, shot and wounded her agent, Jennings Lang, in a Los Angeles parking lot. Wanger suspected Lang of having an affair with Miss Bennett.

The actress, born in Fort Lee, N.J., made her 1928 debut in the Broadway play ″Jarnegan.″

Miss Bennett appeared on stage in ″Stage Door,″ ″Pleasure of His Company,″ ″Fallen Angels″ and ″Butterflies are Free.″

In 1978, she acted in the TV movie ″Suddenly Love,″ followed by ″A House Possessed″ in 1980 and ″Divorce Wars″ in 1981.

She also played Elizabeth Collins in the gothic soap opera ″Dark Shadows.″ The serial, which ran from 1966 to 1971, attracted a cult following and gave her a new generation of fans.

Miss Bennett was first married when she was 16 and had four husbands.

In addition to Wilde, she is survived by four daughters, Shelley Wanger and Stephanie Guest, both of New York City; Diana Anderson of Los Angeles; and Melinda Bena of Chappaqua, N.Y.

She will be cremated and buried in Old Lyme, Conn., Wilde said.