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©AP/ Deborah Raffin
© AP/ Deborah Raffin
Actress Deborah Raffin dies at age 59

LOS ANGELES (AP) -- Deborah Raffin, an actress who ran a successful audiobook company with the help of her celebrity friends, has died. She was 59.

Raffin died Wednesday of leukemia at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, her brother, William, told the Los Angeles Times. She was diagnosed with the blood cancer about a year ago.

Bing: Watch video of Deborah Raffin

Raffin, the daughter of 20th Century Fox contract player Trudy Marshall, had roles in movies such as "Forty Carats" and "Once Is Not Enough." She also starred in television miniseries, most notably playing actress Brooke Hayward in "Haywire" and a businesswoman in "Noble House," based on the James Clavell saga set in Hong Kong.

She and her then-husband, music producer Michael Viner, launched Dove Books-on-Tape in the mid-1980s, which blossomed into a multimillion-dollar business. The company's first best-seller was Stephen Hawking's opus on the cosmos entitled "A Brief History of Time."

Raffin's job was getting celebrities to provide voices for some of the books. Among them were the nonfiction bestsellers "Anatomy of an Illness" and "The Healing Heart," both by Norman Cousins and read by Jason Robards Jr. and William Conrad, respectively.

Raffin also compiled celebrities' Christmas anecdotes for a 1990 book, "Sharing Christmas," which raised money for groups serving the homeless. It included stories from Margaret Thatcher, Kermit the Frog and Mother Teresa.

Raffin and Viner sold the company in 1997 and the couple divorced eight years later. Viner died of cancer in 2009.

Raffin is survived by her two siblings, William and Judy Holston; and a daughter, Taylor Rose Viner.

Services are set for Sunday in Culver City.

Copyright 2012 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Nov 23, 2012 3:23PM
Sorry to hear of Deborahs passing.  She was a really good actress and too young to die.  Condolences to her family.   RIP
Nov 23, 2012 5:43PM
So sorry to hear of her passing.  She was so lovely, and I had no idea of the many good things she'd been doing in her life.  She left here far too soon.  Blessings and condolences to all who near her and will miss her.
Nov 23, 2012 10:39PM
I loved her.  She was the quintessential 70's natural beauty and a good person.
Nov 23, 2012 12:47PM
Jeez!   Diagnosed one year ago and dead already?   Does this mean the medical people didn't catch it in time, possibly extending her life?  Condolences to family, relatives, and friends!
Nov 24, 2012 8:38AM
So sad to hear of her passing...although I did not place the name, I remember the face.  She was a good actress.  My heartfelt sympathies to her daughter and loved ones...
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