Obituaries : Ella Raines; ‘Sultry’ Star of ‘40s-Era Films

Times Staff Writer

Ella Raines, the green-eyed star of 1940s-era thrillers and Westerns, has died of throat cancer at her Sherman Oaks residence. She was 67.

Born in Snoqualmie Falls, Wash., Raines majored in drama at the University of Washington and came to Hollywood shortly after graduation.

She achieved stardom almost overnight in Hollywood when, in 1943, she was made the sole contract star of a $1-million new production company established by actor Charles Boyer and director Howard Hawks. Her first movie was “Corvette K-225.”

Described as “sultry,” and “mysterious,” she was best remembered for her role in the thriller “Phantom Lady” in 1944.

Made 20 Films

She made 20 films in all, including “Tall in the Saddle” with John Wayne, “The Suspect” with Charles Laughton and “Walking Hills” with Randolph Scott.


She also starred in the 1950s television series “Janet Dean R.N.”

Raines was married briefly to a childhood sweetheart and was divorced shortly after World War II.

In 1947, she married a World War II flying ace, Maj. Robin Olds, and traveled extensively as her husband was transferred to bases throughout the country and around the world.

“I am naturally captivated with the rewards that Hollywood bestows on those who are successful,” she said at the height of her career. “But I’m going to do my best to see that these (rewards) never disturb the essential values in my life--love of husband, family, home; the things that really count.”

Well-Known Entertainers

Olds eventually rose to the rank of brigadier general and became commander of the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs in the late 1960s, where the couple became well known for their entertaining.

After their divorce in 1975, she returned to California, where she lived in Sherman Oaks. She made guest appearances on a handful of television shows--including “Matt Houston” and “Police Story.”

Private family services were held after she died last week.

She is survived by two daughters, Christina Newman and Susan Olds, and a granddaughter.