R.I.P. Anne Whitfield, ''White Christmas'' actress and ''Perry Mason'' familiar face

After Perry Mason defended her twice, the actress went back to college and worked in the Department of Ecology. She was 85.

The Everett Collection

Anne Whitfield, best known for her role as Susan Waverly in the 1954 film White Christmas, has passed away.

Whitfield was only fifteen when she landed her most iconic role, that of the granddaughter of Dean Jagger's General Waverly in White Christmas. Fans of the holiday classic know that the plot of the film revolves around Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye's song-and-dance man characters trying to save the failing inn owned by the beloved general they served under during the war. The general's granddaughter, Susan, allows "the old man" to show a gentler, more domestic side.

Whitfield was born into show business. Her father was a marching band director for the University of Mississippi, and her mother taught speech and drama at a junior college. Later, she would tutor the kids on the set of The Brady Bunch.

The young actress found work on the radio before landing her role on White Christmas, with roles on programs like The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show, Our Miss Brooks and Mr. and Mrs. Blandings.

Following the movie, she appeared all over TV with roles in The Donna Reed Show, Father Knows Best, Gunsmoke, and more. She appeared in the Dragnet episode "Internal Affairs: DR-20", where the show crossed over with Adam-12.

She appeared three times on Perry Mason, twice as Perry's client accused of murder, in season seven's "The Case of the Ugly Duckling" and season eight's "The Case of the Nautical Knot". She also appeared in the second-to-last episode of the series, the famously dark "The Case of the Crafty Kidnapper".

In the 1970s, Whitfield decided to step away from Hollywood and went back to school to earn a degree in communications. She went on to have a career in the Department of Ecology for the State of Washington, ran a bed and breakfast, and became a climate activist.

Whitfield passed away at the age of 85.

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23 Comments

jacko3 1 month ago
Oh, yes - Ms Anne Whitfield, was a very attractive actress .. enjoyed her with Perry Mason - so hard to fathom these many years go by and such beauty goes away ... GOD Bless Anne, her family, friends and Fans!
MeFanFromSavan 1 month ago
Watched her in a small role Saturday night. Played a pricey "escort" in a episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker. Early season episode from 1974.
DethBiz 1 month ago
RIP Anne Whitfield. Always remember her from her Perry Mason appearances. Surprised MeTV hasn't mentioned a RIP for Charlie Dierkop. He was in a lot of MeTV westerns. Christmas will never be the same without him.
AnnieM 1 month ago
I just saw "The Case of the Ugly Duckling" a week or two ago; can't recall if it was on MeTV or one of the other channels on Frndly. I remember thinking that this girl is so pretty, and they think that dressing her like Maynard G. Krebs is supposed to make her an 'ugly duckling'? She was a talented actress who looks to have lived a very full life. RIP, Ms Whitfield.
KawiVulc 1 month ago
No shortage of, heh, "climate activists" around, the junior nutbag will pick up the slack. Sad to see another classic era actress pass on though.
CarolKelley KawiVulc 1 month ago
Is it necessary to attack Ms Whitfield in a tribute to her after she has died?
AGREED! I think I know which party HE's in...LOL!
bsantaniello 1 month ago
She was also on several episodes of Emergency.
JHP 1 month ago
Wish we still had her around considering the Mega Car washes (inside and out of the car) SE Wis got last night from the storms

And it's only the beginning
cperrynaples 1 month ago
Fun Fact: Would you believe she was Woody Woodpecker's girlfriend? Not sure if her toon has been on TIWM!
It finally ran yesterday! Since it took place at a sock hop, of course it was shown as part of a tribute to socks...LOL!
MrsPhilHarris 1 month ago
She was one if Phil Harris’ daughters on his and Alice Faye’s radio show.
Yes, she was a fictional version of Phil and Alice's real daughter! It was one of her many child roles on radio!
JHP MrsPhilHarris 1 month ago
Love that show on old time radio:)
MrsPhilHarris JHP 1 month ago
Me too. Phil and Remley are hilarious.
JHP MrsPhilHarris 1 month ago
agreed! :)

What didnt Remely hock? :)

And Alice Fay when she sings make my ticker go to 5th gear
MrsPhilHarris JHP 1 month ago
Alice had a great voice. When Phil sings I have to laugh.
JHP MrsPhilHarris 1 month ago
yep he was more of a novelty singer
cperrynaples JHP 1 month ago
And he's best known as Baloo in The Jungle Book!
teire 1 month ago
I’ve always thought she grew up to be quite lovely. Three very different roles on Perry Mason.
cperrynaples 1 month ago
TCOT Crafty Kidnapper is bizarre! Not only will you not believe who the killer is, you will be shocked by their motive! Cloris Leachman is a suspect, but NOT the killer! I believe Whitfield played a mother with a very sad backstory!
Runeshaper 1 month ago
R.I.P. Anne Whitfield. Sounds like she had a GREAT life (-:
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