Jan. 25, 1936 Cleveland Heights Cuyahoga County Ohio, USA
Mar. 27, 1977 Los Angeles Los Angeles County California, USA
Actress. She worked primarily in television and is probably best remembered for her role as the original mother in the ABC comedy-drama series "Eight is Enough, that ran from March 1977 until August 1981. Born Diana Gentner in Cleveland, Ohio, she made her acting debut in 1955, in an episode of the NBC television drama series "Robert Montgomery Presents." In 1959 she originated the Broadway role of 'Heavenly Finley' in Tennessee Williams' "Sweet Bird of Youth" with Geraldine Page and Paul Newman. Over the next decade she played numerous guest and supporting roles in various television series, including "Naked City," "The Eleventh Hour," "The Fugitive," "Dr. Kildare," "Run for Your Life," and "The Twilight Zone," before being cast in a featured role in the Arthur Penn directed film "The Chase" (1966) with Marlon Brando, Jane Fonda and Robert Redford. In 1958 she became a regular on the NBC television soap opera "Young Doctor Malone," playing the role of 'Gig Houseman', wife of the younger Doctor Malone. She also played a continuing role in the ABC television prime-time soap opera "Peyton Place" from 1968 to 1969. In 1976 she appeared in the television movie "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble," for which she won a posthumous Emmy Award. The following year, she signed on to play the wife of actor Dick Van Patten's character 'Tom Bradford' in the series "Eight is Enough." She appeared in only the first four episodes prior to her being diagnosed with breast cancer and she was written out for the remainder of the first season. She was married to actor Joe Goodson for eight years, divorcing in 1975. In 1976 she began a romantic relationship with actor John Travolta, 18 years her junior, after meeting him on the set of "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble." They remained together until her death from cancer in Los Angeles, California at the age of 41. She died 12 days after the first episode of "Eight is Enough" aired. (bio by: William Bjornstad)
Cause of death: Cancer
Burial: Cremated, Ashes scattered at sea.
Maintained by: Find A Grave Originally Created by: Ron Moody Record added: Feb 09, 2002
Find A Grave Memorial# 6165897