Fred Crane, who had been one of the last remaining survivors from the cast of Gone With the Wind, died Thursday of complications from diabetes, his wife, Terry Lynn Crane, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He was 90.
The couple had lived in Barnesville, south of Atlanta, where they ran a bed and breakfast called Tarleton Oaks – after Brent Tarleton, Crane’s role in the 1939 Civil War epic. George Reeves, who was later TV’s Superman, played his twin brother in the story, Stuart Tarleton.
Crane, a New Orleans native who was 20 at the time, actually delivered the opening line in the movie. Sitting with his brother and the beautiful Scarlett O’Hara (Vivien Leigh) on the front porch of her plantation, Tara, he says: “What do we care if we were expelled from college, Scarlett? The war is going to start any day now, so we’d have left college anyhow.”
She famously replies: “Fiddle-dee-dee. War, war, war. This war talk’s spoiling all the fun at every party this spring. I get so bored I could scream.”
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The film, the most eagerly awaited of its day, is still the most successful box-office hit of all time, with its ticket sales (adjusted for inflation) reaching $1.4 billion.
Only last month, Evelyn Keyes, who played Scarlett’s younger sister Suellen O’Hara, died at 91.
Olivia DeHavilland, who played the key role of Melanie in the film, is still alive and well in Paris – at 92. Other, minor players still living are Ann Rutherford (who played sister Careen O Hara), Cammie King (Bonnie Blue Butler), Alicia Rhett (India Wilkes) and Mickey Kuhn (Beau Wilkes), according to the Journal-Constitution.
Like his “twin,” Crane’s other acting roles encompassed mostly TV work, including work on Lost in Space and Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea.
Married five times, Crane is survived by four children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.