Helen Craig, the stage, screen and television actress who created the title role of deaf and mute Belinda McDonald when "Johnny Belinda" made its New York debut at the Belasco Theatre in 1940, died of a heart attack Sunday. She was 74 and died in a New York City hospital.
Miss Craig, wife of actor John Beal, first appeared on Broadway in 1936 and was seen in the "New Faces" revue of that year. Her other Broadway credits included "Soliloquy," "Lute Song," "As You Like It" and "Land's End."
In 1938, she toured with Orson Welles' Mercury Theater production of "Julius Caesar" as Calpurnia.
Before her Broadway appearances, she had worked with stock companies on both coasts and was seen in three plays at the Pasadena Playhouse in 1934-35. In 1938, she and her husband brought "Soliloquy" to the old Biltmore Theater in Los Angeles.
She continued to do stock after her New York successes, touring primarily with companies in New England.
Miss Craig made her film debut in "Keys of the Kingdom" and also was seen in "They Live by Night," "The Snake Pit" and "War and Peace." On television she worked often on "The Waltons," "Kojak" and "The Bionic Woman" and starred as the first Mrs. Carroll in the Broadway Television Theater production of "The Two Mrs. Carrolls."
In addition to her husband, she is survived by two daughters, a brother, sister and a grandson.