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Deborah Raffin, actress and audiobook entrepreneur, dies at 59

November 21, 2012 |  5:53 pm

Deborah Raffin, a film actress, veteran of television miniseries and entrepreneur whose company, Dove Books-on-Tape, became a major force in the audiobook industry, died Wednesday of leukemia in Los Angeles. She was 59.

She was diagnosed with the blood cancer about a year ago, said her brother, William.

The blond, California-born actress first came to attention in the mid-1970s playing “pretty girl” roles in movies such as “Forty Carats” with Liv Ullman and “Once Is Not Enough,” based on the salacious novel by Jacqueline Susann.

She later tackled more substantial parts in television miniseries, playing legendary actress Brooke Hayward in “Haywire” (1980) and a businesswoman in “Noble House” (1988), based on the James Clavell saga of love and intrigue in Hong Kong.

In the mid-1980s, she and her then-husband, Michael Viner, launched Dove as a hobby in the garage of their Coldwater Canyon home, but it blossomed into a multimillion business with a mix of high- and low-brow titles, from Sidney Sheldon's bestseller “The Naked Face” to physicist Stephen W. Hawking's opus on the cosmos, “A Brief History of Time,” which was Dove's first bestseller.

A full obituary will follow at latimes.com/obits.


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Richard Robbins, 71, Merchant-Ivory film composer

-- Elaine Woo

Photo: Deborah Raffin is shown with her then-husband, Michael Viner, in 1996. Credit: Los Angeles Times