Joan Gray

born: 18 January 1931
Elizabeth, New Jersey,
United States of America
died: 16 November 2016
Puerto Vallarta, Puerto Vallarta Municipality, Jalisco,
(age 85)

American child actress.
Her parents were Wright Lafayette Felt and Frieda (several spellings) Marie Brown. The Dad was an electrical engineer working for the government and living in Dallas, TX in 1926 when her older brother, James, was born. His job took him to NJ where Joan was born.(Some sources incorrectly give her birth year as 1930 or 1932). The Mom was a professional pianist. Friends told them how much Joan looked like Shirley Temple and could be in movies. About 1934/35 the family moved to Los Angeles. One newspaper blurb says she is a niece to popular Dallas born screen actor/writer Alan Dinehart. Her Mom made the rounds of the studios with her with only minor success and no long term contracts until August of 1936. All this time, Joan was taking singing, dancing, and piano lessons at a renowned studio. Her Mom found more success for Joan with the name changes and "removal" of the "Shirley Temple look".
In 1940, when producers were assembling a cast for the Broadway play, "Panama Hattie", they offered it to Shirley Temple (same studio as Joan) but Shirley's Mom was too demanding so the producers, peeved, offered it to Joan who was already somewhat successful in films. Off she went to Broadway and the play (and Joan) was a "smashing" success. She played in it for a year and returned to Hollywood and a successful film career. As an aside, the movie studio bought the rights to "Panama Hattie" for Shirley Temple!
In 1944, while filming "Meet Me in St. Louis", Joan underwent emergency appendectomy surgery and was back to work in a few days!
After a few more films, Joan "retired" from movies in 1945. In 1949 she entered Immaculate Heart College in LA. In 1952 she married James Krack, an electronics salesman and successful boarding kennel operator. Records show them divorcing in CO in 1972 in spite of other websites stating they were sill married when he died in 2013 in CO. His obituary says that when he died he was with his "best friend of 42 years, Donna". Joan's obituary gives her married name as "Ashley". In 1953, her Dad, Wright, was run over and killed by a streetcar in LA.

Information published elsewhere relates to a completely different person by the same name (1928-1972).
Real name: Joan Marie Felt
Height: 3'2" (March 1935, aged 4½ years old)
Films listed on this page: complete Hal Roach filmography.


Our Gang Follies Of 1936
Chorus line girl

Acknowledgements & sources: (1919 parents marry in TX) (born Elizabeth NJ 1931) (with obit and photo) [*I BELIEVE THIS IMAGE IS WRONG] (Marriage to James Krack) (divorce 1970) 2016 (obit in "Hollywood Reporter") James Krack (obit) 1930 (Census TX Parents and brother) 1940 (Census Hollywood w Parents & brother) (bio to 1941),1078358 (bio up to 1941) (IBDb Joan Carroll birth & death dates) (bio Joan Carroll at Wikipedia) (TX niece of Dinehart 3'2" tall) (Joan Felt/Gray) (contract aged 4) (Joan Carol) (Joan Felt/Carol) (Photo) (Joan Carroll) (Attends college) (1941 bio)
Jim Jarvis (extensive research and information)

This page was last updated on: 10 December 2018