DCS: zina bethune

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Seven-year old Zina Bethune studied dance at the famed George Balanchine School of American Ballet. She enrolled as a method of strengthening her legs and body after a diagnosis of scoliosis and hip dysplasia. By the age of 10, she was performing in The Nutcracker. At 14, she was dancing in the prestigious New York City Ballet. Parallel to her blossoming dancer career, Zina took roles in off-Broadway shows and later joined the cast of the musical Most Happy Fella. Pursuing both a career in dance and acting, she appeared in soap operas and anthology TV series.

In 1960, fifteen-year old Zina was cast as President Roosevelt’s (as played by Ralph Bellamy) daughter in the film Sunrise at Campobello. She went on to star opposite Harvey Keitel (in his film debut) in Martin Scorsese’s first feature film Who’s That Knocking at My Door. She rode her wave of fame with guest roles on television dramas, Westerns and even game shows.

Overcoming her physical ailments, Zina founded Dance Outreach (now known as Infinite Dreams) in 1980, which enrolls9 about 8,000 disabled children in dance-related activities throughout Southern California.

In February 2012, Zina, a lifelong animal lover, stopped her car on the side of the road to check on, what appeared to be, an injured animal. She left the motor running in her car and she made her way along the shoulder of the road. She was struck by two vehicles, one dragging her approximately 600 feet. Authorities arrived and Zina was pronounced dead at the scene. She was 66 years old.



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