Actress Deborah Raffin dies at 59

Nov. 22, 2012 at 4:41 PM

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Actress Deborah Raffin, who had a second career publishing audio books, has died of leukemia at a Los Angeles hospital, her family said. She was 59.

Raffin -- whose film credits included "Forty Carats" and "Once Is Not Enough" -- died Wednesday at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, the Los Angeles Times reported. Her brother, William, said she had been diagnosed with leukemia about a year ago, the newspaper said.

Her television miniseries credits included "Haywire" and "Noble House."

Raffin was born March 13, 1953, in Los Angeles, to actress Trudy Marshall and restaurateur Philip Raffin.

Working with her then-husband, Michael Viner, Raffin established Dove Books-on-Tape in 1985.

The business was initially meant to be a hobby, the Times said, but grew into a multimillion-dollar business, issuing a diverse mix of titles that included physicist Stephen Hawking's "A Brief History of Time" -- its first bestseller -- and Sidney Sheldon's "The Naked Face."

The audio-book business had its genesis in a game of backgammon in which Sheldon lost $8,000 to Viner, the Times said. Rather than collect the money, Viner -- who died of cancer in 2009 -- had Sheldon agree to let him produce two of the author's bestsellers as books on tape.

Raffin hired actors including Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore and Ruby Dee to read books on tape.

Raffin's marriage to Viner ended in divorce in 2005.

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