The child star that made her movie debut in the 1946 Disney musical classic “Song of the South” was born today in 1938. Now WE know em

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Luana Patten was born July 6, 1938 in Long Beach, California.

Her parents were from Enid, Oklahoma and only moved to California in 1937.

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Luana became one of the first two contract players for Walt Disney Studios when she was cast as Ginny in the 1946 musical “Song of the South.”

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She played a poor white child fascinated by the stories told by Uncle Remus (played by James Baskett).

 

Clockwise from left: Ginny (Luana Patten), Uncle Remus (James Baskett), Johnny (Bobby Driscoll) and Toby (Glenn Leedy).

Clockwise from left: Ginny (Luana Patten), Uncle Remus (James Baskett), Johnny (Bobby Driscoll) and Toby (Glenn Leedy).

Luana made three more films as a child star before appearing in Song of the South’s 1948 sister film “So Dear to My Heart.

She then left acting for over 10 years.

As a sixteen year old, Luana married Ronny Huntley in 1954.

Then as a student at Wilson High School in Long Beach California in 1956, Luana was working as a box office cashier at the Lakewood Center Theater when it was held up. The movie playing was her first film, Song of the South.

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That same year, Luana returned to acting in “Rock, Pretty Baby” and followed that with several teen films.

In 1958, Luana Patten played the part of Elizabeth Buckley in the episode “Twelve Guns” of NBC’s Cimarron City western television series. It was on Cimarron City that she met John Smith.

She divorced Ronny Huntley in 1959 and married John Smith in 1960.

However, Luana and John Smith also divorced in 1964.

She retired from acting at the end of 1968 and married again in 1970, this time to Jerry D. Mays, however this marriage also ended in divorce in 1973.

Luana Patten had appeared in a total of 18 films.

Then in 1988, she made a brief cameo as an elderly woman in the film Grotesque.

Luana Patten died May 1, 1996 from respiratory failure in her home at Long Beach, California, at the age of 57.

She is interred in Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Long Beach, California.

Now WE know em

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