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Actress Joan Woodbury dead at 73

LOS ANGELES -- Joan Woodbury, who played the sultry bad girl in a series of low-budget action films in the 1930s and 1940s, has died, it was reported Saturday. She was 73.

Woodbury died of respiratory complications at her Desert Hot Springs home, the Los Angeles Times reported.

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For the last several years, she and her husband, Ray Mitchell, had produced plays for the Valley Theater Guild in Palm Springs.

Woodbury was raised in a San Francisco convent and came to Los Angeles during the Depression, starting her entertainment career as a dancer at restaurants in Los Angeles and Tijuana, where she appeared with Rita Hayworth, then known as Rita Casino.

Woodbury's first film was 'Eagle's Brood' in 1935, followed by 'Anthony Adverse' the next year.

Over the years she played a series of saloon girls and otherwise hardened women in 'Crashing Hollywood,' 'Algiers,' 'King of the Zombies,' 'Paper Bullets,' 'Confessions of Boston Blackie' and 'The Arnelo Affair.'

In an interview, Woodbury once said she preferred making 'B' movies because in cheaper films 'we seldom had retakes, which bore me to death.'

She had three children by an earlier husband, British film star Henry Wilcoxon.

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