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Obituaries : Janet Margolin; Actress in Film ‘David and Lisa’

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Janet Margolin, the actress who first captured national attention at age 18 as Lisa in the classic 1962 film about mental disorder, “David and Lisa,” has died. She was 50.

Miss Margolin died Friday at her home in Los Angeles of ovarian cancer.

The native New Yorker trained at New York High School of Performing Arts and made her acting debut in the Broadway show “Daughter of Silence.” She was discovered during that run by director Frank Perry, who cast her in “David and Lisa.”

“I could never have played cheerleaders,” Miss Margolin told The Times years later, reflecting on her reputation for portraying complex, often emotionally disturbed personalities. “But other girls couldn’t have played Lisa.”

She was also well-known for her roles in Woody Allen movies--as Allen’s girlfriend Louise in “Take the Money and Run” in 1969 and one of his former wives in “Annie Hall” in 1977.

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Her other films in the 1960s included “The Greatest Story Ever Told” in 1965, “Morituri,” which was also called “The Saboteur,” with Marlon Brando and Yul Brynner in 1965, Steve McQueen’s “Nevada Smith” in 1966, “Enter Laughing” in 1967 and “Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell” in 1968.

In later years, she played the character Ellie opposite Roy Schneider in “Last Embrace” directed by Jonathan Demme in 1979.

The actress also appeared frequently on television in the 1970s, including the movies “Planet Earth,” “The Last Child,” “Lanigan’s Rabbi,” “The Triangle Factory Fire Scandal,” “Plutonium Incident,” “Murder in Peyton Place” and “Murder C.O.D.”

She is survived by her husband, actor Ted Wass; two children, Julian and Tilly; and three sisters, Emily Gwathmey of Santa Monica, Barbara Strauch of New York City and Laura Johnson of New Haven, Conn.


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