|Birth: ||Aug. 4, 1914|
|Death: ||Feb. 20, 2004|
San Diego County
Sheila acted in Hollywood movies and serials. Under the stage name Sheila Darcy, she proved a feisty foil for Don Diego in the vintage Saturday matinee serial, "Zorro's Fighting Legion."
As the mysterious Dragon Lady in another popular serial, "Terry and the Pirates," she played the leading man's nemesis-turned-ally. And in several feature films in the 1930s and 1940s, her brunette allure sometimes evoked comparisons with a famous contemporary, Dorothy Lamour.
Sheila Foster, who gave up her Hollywood career after marrying actor Preston Foster in 1946, died Friday at Sharp Memorial Hospital in Kearny Mesa. She was 89.
The cause of death was heart failure, said Donald Jacobs, a nephew.
While living in Pacific Beach for the past 40 years, Mrs. Foster pursued a career in residential and commercial real estate sales.
Her only brush with show business after her marriage was joining her husband and young daughter, Stephanie, on musical tours of nightclubs and county fairs after he retired from acting.
"Preston played the guitar while Sheila and their daughter sang," Jacobs said. Much of the material, written by Preston Foster, had a lighthearted, comedic flavor, Jacobs said.
After moving to a home near Kate Sessions Park on Mount Soledad, the Fosters enjoyed sailing as members of the Kona Kai Yacht Club and were active in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. Preston Foster died in 1970.
The couple had met in the 1930s when they were married to other spouses. "Ten years later, after divorces, they wed and were very devoted to each other throughout their marriage," Jacobs said.
"Sheila was very outgoing, the Auntie Mame of the family," he said. "She loved entertaining and running around with the old Hollywood crowd."
Among the notable parties Mrs. Foster hosted at her home were those for fellow Leos, her astrological sign.
In recent years, she provided financial support for the Scripps Breast Cancer Center at Scripps Memorial Hospital-La Jolla. The center provides breast cancer prevention and education programs, mammography, genetic-risk counseling, screening for clinical trials and a "positive appearance center" for women undergoing cancer treatment.
Born Rebecca Benedict Heffener in York, Pa., Mrs. Foster moved with her mother and an aunt to Los Angeles at age 5 after her parents separated.
While attending Los Angeles High School, she worked as an usherette at the Paramount movie theater. Encouraged by Hollywood professionals to study acting, she attended MGM-sponsored drama classes.
In 1937, Mrs. Foster adopted the name Sheila Darcy when she signed a contract with Paramount Studios. She made her film debut in "Wells Fargo" and went on to appear as Joan Bennett's maid in "The Man in the Iron Mask."
She played Kitty Monahan, the female lead, in "Irish Luck," the first of a short-lived detective series in 1939 featuring Frankie Darro and Mantan Moreland.
In 1941, Mrs. Foster appeared in five movies, including "Jungle Man" with Buster Crabbe and Charles Middleton, and "Tumbledown Ranch in Arizona" with Ray "Crash" Corrigan.
Her favorite role? "Probably Dragon Lady," Jacobs said, referring to the "Terry and the Pirates" serial.
Although compared in appearance with Lamour, who also was under contract to Paramount for several years, Mrs. Foster never doubled for the actress nor performed in any of the same productions. "The rumor was that the studio did not want them on the same set," Jacobs said.
In addition to Jacobs, survivors include her daughter, Stephanie Troulman of Los Angeles; and sisters, Margaret Jacobs of Pacific Beach and Maebeth Ainsley of Phoenix.
Margaret Violet Harman Wassem (1888 - 1954)
Preston S. Foster (1900 - 1970)
Margaret Jacobs (1908 - 2004)*
Sheila R. Foster (1914 - 2004)
Theresa Alice Wassem Schmidt (1919 - 1973)*
Maebeth Wassem Ainslie (1926 - 2008)*
El Camino Memorial Park
San Diego County
Plot: Sanctuary of Love (3), Crypt 4, Tier F.
Maintained by: Carolyn (Schmidt) Alves
Originally Created by: Douglas Kirk Sorensen
Record added: Jun 28, 2009
Find A Grave Memorial# 38826297