Dick Haymes, 61, a star crooner with the big bands during the swing era of the 1940s, died of lung cancer Friday at Cedars-Sinai Hospital in Los Angeles.
He had started his career with a bang as a singer and later had his own national radio show. He gained further popularity as an actor in numerous films.
But marital problems (Mr. Haymes had six wives), a two-year battle against deportation, bankruptcy and alcoholism wrecked that career. The Associated Press reported that at the time of his death there were no friends or relatives at his side.
The man who had been a popular singer with such swing band superstars as Bunny Berrigan, Tommy Dorsey, Harry James and Benny Goodman had been little heard from in this country in recent years.
At the height of his career in the 1940s, Mr. Haymes had cut nine golden records, including "It Had to Be You," "Little White Lies" and "It Might As Well Be Spring."
He had appeared in 35 movies, including starring roles in "One Touch of Venus," with Ava Gardner, "Diamond Horseshoe" with Jeanne Crain. His movie debut had been made in 1944 in "Irish Eyes Are Smiling."
But in 1961, as his troubles continued to mount, he left the United States. He then performed in England, Australia and South Africa and did not return to this country until the 1970s.
Mr. Haymes was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. His father was a rancher of English descent and his Irish mother had been a musical comedy singer. His parents traveled widely and he grew up in France, Montreal, California and Switzerland.
In World War II, while his career was running smoothly, he came under heavy criticism when he claimed exemption from the draft as a citizen of Argentina. That action caught up with him later.
In 1953, while still married to his third wife, Nora Eddington, who was the ex-wife of actor Erroll Flynn, and while wooing actress Rita Hayworth, who later became his fourth wife, Mr. Haymes visited Miss Hayworth in Hawaii, where she was making a film.
A year later, the U.S. Immigration Service sought to deport him under a law that said aliens who had claimed draft exemption and left the United States without permission could be barred from returning.
Mr. Haymes fought against the deportation for two years and finally won when a federal judge ruled that although Hawaii was only a territory of the United States, it was not a foreign country. The government dropped its charges against him. He later became a U.S. citizen.
By that time, Mr. Haymes had lost his battle with the bottle. It was not until 1965 that he conquered his drinking problem, which he always attributed to "low tolerance."
Mr. Haymes was married to Rita Hayworth from 1953 to 1955 during his fight against deportation.
His first wife was singer Edith Harper. The marriage ended in divorce. He then married actress Joanne Dru, by whom he had three children. That divorce was followed by his marriage to Nora Eddington. She divorced him so that he might marry Miss Hayworth.
After that marriage ended in divorce, Mr. Haymes wed singer Fran Jeffries, by whom he had one child. In 1963 he married British fashion model Wendy Smith, by whom he had two children.