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Jeffrey Lynn; Film, Television, Stage Actor

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Jeffrey Lynn, the durable actor whose film career as the handsome romantic husband or boyfriend flourished in the late 1930s and 1940s, has died. He was 86.

Lynn died Friday at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank after a stroke, said his daughter, Letitia Lynn.

Born Ragnar Godfrey Lind in Auburn, Mass., Lynn legally changed his name to his stage name in 1942, noting that he wanted to serve his country during World War II under the name that had become popular. He earned a bronze star as a combat intelligence captain with the Army Air Forces in Italy and Austria.

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A graduate of Bates College in Maine, Lynn taught high school classes in English, speech and drama. His passion for acting led him into summer stock companies and small roles on Broadway.

He won a contract with Warner Bros. in 1937 and appeared in many of the studio’s films, typically as the attractive, reliable love interest of the heroine. He made his debut in “Four Daughters” in 1938, went on to such films as “Yes, My Darling Daughter” in 1939, and the enduring 1939 classic “Roaring Twenties” as a World War I buddy of Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney.

Lynn was also memorable as one of the three husbands, along with Kirk Douglas and Paul Douglas, in “Letter to Three Wives” and as a bookkeeper framed for murder opposite Martha Scott in “Strange Bargain,” both in 1949.

Among his later films were “Butterfield 8" with Elizabeth Taylor in 1960, “Tony Rome” starring Frank Sinatra in 1967, and the 1982 television movie “Forbidden Love.”

Lynn’s Hollywood career languished after he returned from the war, but he continued to act on stage and television as he went into real estate to support his seven adopted stepchildren.

On stage, he appeared on Broadway in “Two for the Seesaw.”

He found television roles on the soap opera “Secret Storm” and such series as “Remington Steele” and “Barnaby Jones.”

In later years, Lynn served as producer and actor in Los Angeles’ Center Theater.

Lynn is survived by his third wife, Helen; his daughter, Ms. Lynn; seven stepchildren, Sunday Taylor, Lawrence Ciarlo, Penny Shaffer, Valerie Tashjian, Charles Ciarlo, Cathy Ludwick and LeeAnn Thornton; three sisters, two brothers and 17 grandchildren.


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