Rhoda W. Van Meter
Rhoda W. Van Meter, an actress also known as Rhoda Williams, died March 8 of
age-related causes. She was 75.
She was born July 19, 1930, in Denver, Colo., to Edgar and Jessie Williams. She
married David Van Meter on Jan. 5, 1952, in Yuma, Ariz. She moved with her
family from Galveston, Texas, to Hollywood, Calif., when she was five, and began
her long career as an actress.
She got her first role on national radio when she was 9, cast as a small boy on
the NBC program "I Want a Divorce!" She later worked on many major shows
originating from Hollywood, including "Dr. Christian," "One Man's Family," and
"Life of Riley," and on many productions of the "Lux Radio Theatre."
In 1949, she began a five-year stint as Robert Young's oldest daughter Betty on
the NBC radio program, "Father Knows Best." She also acted in several films,
including "National Velvet" and "Mr. Belvedere Goes to College." She attended
Hollywood High School and received a bachelor's degree from UCLA when she was
18. She received a master's degree in theatre in 1972 from California State
University, Northridge, and taught speech and voice classes.
She worked in the Walt Disney animated movie, "Cinderella" as the voice and
model for the character Drizella. She also worked in many live and filmed
television shows, including "Date With Judy," "Dragnet," "The Big Valley," "Ironside,"
"Marcus Welby, M.D.," "Policewoman," "Barnaby Jones" and "General Hospital."
She provided the voice for Brigitte Bardot in the American version of "The Night
Heaven Fell." She served as the voice and model for the Walt Disney Studios
audioanimatronic mother and teenage daughter at the General Electric Carousel of
Progress at Disneyland, and provided alien voices for "Star Trek IV" and "Star
Van Meter had been a member of both the American Federation of Television and
Radio Artists and the Screen Actors Guild since 1938. She served on the local
boards of the Los Angeles and Portland locals of AFTRA and on the national board
for the Los Angeles Local. She had been vice-president and secretary of the Los
Angeles Chapter of the Coalition of Labor Union Women. She received a
distinguished service award from the InterGuild Women's Caucus.
She had lived in Eugene for the past 14 years.
Survivors include her husband; two daughters, Janis Hayes of Harrisburg and
Debra DePew of Eugene; two sons, Jon Van Meter of Corvallis and Steven Van Meter
of Tujunga, Calif.; 12 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held later at the Spiritual Growth Center.
Andreason's Cremation & Burial Service in Eugene is in charge of arrangements.
From: The Register-Guard, Eugene, Oregon.
March 12, 2006.