Elaine Devry, Actress and Fourth Wife of Mickey Rooney, Dies at 93

Elaine Devry, Actress and Fourth Wife of Mickey Rooney, Dies at 93

Elaine Devry, an actress who appeared in such films as The Atomic Kid and A Guide for the Married Man and on dozens of TV shows after becoming the fourth of Mickey Rooney’s eight wives, has died. She was 93.

Devry died Sept. 20 in her home in Grants Pass, Oregon, according to a notice placed on a local funeral home website.

Devry married Rooney in Las Vegas in November 1952 and made her first onscreen acting appearances the next year in the Rooney-starring comedy film A Slight Case of Larceny and on an episode of the Ronald Reagan-hosted CBS anthology series General Electric Theater.

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In the Republic Pictures sci-fi comedy The Atomic Kid (1954), directed by Leslie H. Martinson, she was introduced as “Elaine Davis (Mrs. Mickey Rooney),” and her character, a nurse, marries her husband’s Barnaby “Blix” Waterberry at the end of the movie.

In A Guide for the Married Man (1967), directed by Gene Kelly, she portrayed a seductive divorcée who has a rendezvous in a motel room with Walter Matthau’s Paul Manning that doesn’t go off as she’d hoped.

Over the years, Devry showed up as a guest star on everything from Bourbon Street Beat, Bachelor Father, Perry Mason, Death Valley Days, 77 Sunset Strip and Hawaiian Eye to Bonanza, I Dream of Jeannie, My Three Sons, Family Affair, Marcus Welby, M.D., and Cannon before leaving acting in the late 1970s.

(L-R) Mickey Rooney and Elaine Devry in 'The Atomic Kid'

Elaine Devry and then-husband Mickey Rooney in a promotional photo for 1954’s ‘The Atomic Kid’

Courtesy Everett Collection

Thelma Elaine Mahnken was born on Jan. 10, 1930, in Compton, California. She did some modeling while attending Compton High School and Compton Community College, then moved to Butte, Montana, where she wed high school sweetheart Dan Ducich, a standout basketball player, in 1948.

A year later, Ducich was convicted of armed robbery and sentenced to probation, and the couple divorced in 1952. In June 1954, he died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound in a room at the Sahara in Vegas. He was 28.

Devry returned to California and met Rooney at a driving range in Woodland Hills, and they tied the knot when she was 22 and he was 32. He had already been married to actress Ava Gardner, singer Betty Jane Phillips and actress Martha Vickers.

In 1956, Edward R. Murrow interviewed the couple from their home on CBS’ Person to Person.

While separated from Devry, Rooney met actress Barbara Ann Thomason and began a romance with her. He divorced Devry in Mexico in December 1958 — the end of their marriage was not publicly disclosed for several months — and their breakup would prove to be quite contentious.

Rooney went on to marry Thomason, who was murdered by her lover, Milos Milos, in the Rooneys’ Brentwood home in 1966. After her passing, he tied the knot with writer Marge Lane, secretary Carolyn Hockett and actress-singer Jan Chamberlin before dying in April 2014.

Devry also appeared in such films as China Doll (1958), Man-Trap (1961), The Last Time I Saw Archie (1961), Diary of a Madman (1963), With Six You Get Eggroll (1968), The Cheyenne Social Club (1970), Bless the Beasts & Children (1971), The Boy Who Cried Werewolf (1973) and Herbie Rides Again (1974).

In 1975, she married actor Will J. White. They first met in 1961 on NBC’s The Dick Powell Theater; their episode, with Powell starring as millionaire investigator Amos Burke, served as the pilot for the ABC series Burke’s Law. (Rooney was on the episode, too.)

White died in 1992. His sister, actress Suzanne Alexander, died by apparent suicide in 1975 at age 44.