Barbara Whiting Smith, 73; Actress Had Show Business Family

From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Barbara Whiting Smith, 73, an actress popular in films of the 1940s and ‘50s, including “Beware, My Lovely” and “Dangerous When Wet,” died Wednesday of cancer at St. Joseph Mercy Oakland Hospital in Pontiac, Mich.

Born in Los Angeles, she grew up in a show business family. Her father was Richard Whiting, who wrote hundreds of songs, including “Hooray for Hollywood,” and her sister was singer Margaret Whiting. Young Barbara got her break in the movies at age 13, when she played opposite Peggy Ann Garner in the 1945 film “Junior Miss.” Whiting’s performance earned her a contract with 20th Century Fox.

She also performed in a “Junior Miss” radio series from 1948 to 1953, graduating to the title role of Judy Graves. With her sister, Whiting Smith performed in the television show “Those Whiting Girls,” a summer replacement for “I Love Lucy,” from 1955 to 1957.

After marrying Gail Smith, who died 10 years ago, she abandoned her career and moved to Michigan in 1959. She was a longtime volunteer and patron of the Pontiac hospital where she died.