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Lorraine Williams

As a talented young woman she danced in chorus lines on Broadway, and as a Santa Rosa mother and fundraiser she hosted numerous cocktail parties to support her favorite causes.

Lorraine E. Williams died in her sleep at the Golden Living Center on March 20. She was 92.

Williams was born in 1921 in Windham, Conn., and began her career as a ballet, tap and jazz dancer at age 16.

"She went to the New York City public schools, but immediately after school was over she would try out for parts," said her son, Norm E. Williams of Morro Bay. "She'd try out for parts and immediately get them."

As a young dancer, Williams was a chorus girl at Lou Walters' Latin Quarter and Virginia Hill's Hurricane Club. At Latin Quarter, news anchor Barbara Walters, who was just a young girl at the time, and Lou Walters' daughter often hung out in the dressing room, Norm Williams said.

"She would get into my mom's and everyone else's makeup," Norm Williams said. "Barbara had braces back then, and she was kind of like a snotty kid."

When the World's Fair came to town in 1939, Williams performed in the aquacade, swimming and dancing. She also appeared in Jackie Gleason's Broadway play "Follow the Girls." Unlike other chorus girls, Williams lived with her parents when she performed on Broadway.

Williams often frequented Sardi's, a restaurant and popular post-theater lounge New York City. That's where she met her late husband, Norman J. Williams, who had been an actor since age 6. They were introduced by their friend, Norman Abbott, who directed "Leave it to Beaver" and other TV shows.

"My parents, it was love at first sight, and they got married pretty quick in 1941," Norm Williams said.

Shortly after they married, Norman Williams served in World War II. When he returned, they both continued acting and she gave birth to their son, Norm.


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