“7th Heaven” Star Deborah Raffin Dies at 59

Actress and book publisher loses battle with leukemia

By Elena Gorgan on November 27th, 2012 14:32 GMT

Deborah Raffin, whom fans might remember from “7th Heaven” or “Haywire” before it, has died. She was 59 years old and, according to reports, had been battling leukemia for over a year.

People magazine reports that confirmation of the actress’ death comes from a publicist. It also offers an insight into the life of the woman many of us came to know as Aunt Julie on the long-running CW series.

Raffin, who also made a name for herself as a book publisher, passed away last week. She is survived by a brother and two siblings.

“Starting out, the blonde Californian was often compared to the young Grace Kelly,” the celebrity publication writes.

It was particularly because of her stunning looks that Deborah would struggle to find work, doing at first mostly B-movies or even worse.

Until she got her big break, she doubled her acting career, such as it was, with one as a model for fashion magazines and brands.

“She met her future husband, manager and, ultimately, business partner, Michael Viner, on a blind date in 1974, and they married four months later,” People says.

“Ten years after that, they founded the L.A.-based Dove Books-on-Tape, which they eventually expanded into a highly successful book publishing and movie and TV production. Among their authors were Amy Tan and Sidney Sheldon,” the publication adds.

It would be the start of a multi-million dollar empire.

In the meantime, Raffin also found critical success as an actress in the CBS made for TV movie “Haywire” in the ‘80s, which earned her glowing reviews, including one from Time magazine saying she was no longer “simply a photogenic starlet so beautiful she was allowed to play little more than photogenic starlet roles.”

Between 1996 and 2007, Raffin played Aunt Julie on the insanely successful CW series “7th Heaven.”
Deborah Raffin played Aunt Julie for 11 years on “7th Heaven”
   Deborah Raffin played Aunt Julie for 11 years on “7th Heaven”
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