Cammie King Conlon of “Gone With the Wind” dies at 76

Cathy Maestri

Cammie King Conlon, one of the few remaining cast members from the Civil War epic “Gone With the Wind,” died of lung cancer Wednesday at the age of 76.conlonrutherford22.jpg

Conlon (pictured with Ann Rutherford) was only 4 when she was selected to play Bonnie Blue Butler, the daughter of Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara; her character dies after falling from her pony.  The blockbuster made its public debut Sept. 9, 1939, in a secretive screening at
Riverside’s Fox Theater.

An August 70th-anniversary screening at what is now the Fox Performing Arts Center drew several other “GWTW” veterans; Patrick Curtis, Mickey Kuhn and Greg Giese played either infants or children in the film, while 89-year-old Ann Rutherford played Scarlett’s sister, Carreen.

Conlon stayed in touch with other cast members, and in her retirement years frequently made appearances at “GWTW”-related events. The Associated Press reported that 94-year-old Olivia de Havilland — who played Melanie Hamilton Wilkes, Scarlett’s rival — called Conlon on Sunday. De Havilland now lives in France.

Last year, Conlon published a book about her only onscreen role and her memories of working with Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh, “Bonnie Blue Butler, A ‘Gone With the Wind’ Memoir.”

As a child, Conlon also provided the voice of Faline in “Bambi” in the early 1940s, but that was as far as her movie career went. “My mother decided she wanted me to have a normal childhood,” she said on her blog.

Conlon, who graduated from the University of Southern California, moved to Northern California in 1980 and died at her Fort Bragg home.

“I’ve worked in public relations 45 years, been a wife and mom, and no matter what I did, my role in ‘Gone With the Wind’ is what captures people’s interest,”  reads her blog. “In other words, I peaked at age 5.”

Conlon is survived by her son, Matthew Ned Conlon, and daughter, Katie Conlon Byrne.

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Friday, September 3, 2010

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