Birth date? Gene was born November 19, 1920 in Brooklyn, NY.
Death date? Gene passed away on November 6, 1991 in Houston, TX. She is interred at Glenwood Cemetery in Houston, as are her second husband and two daughters.
What mental illness did she have? What caused it? Gene suffered from manic depression, known now as bipolar disorder. She personally felt that monetary and emotional issues with her father, taken by her as abandonment, paired with the permanent disablement of her daughter Daria were the main contributing factors.
Shoe size? 6 1/2 AA.
Height? 5 feet 5 1/2 inches.
How much did Gene weigh? Her usual weight during her Hollywood years was 115-120.
What were Gene’s favorite films she made? She enjoyed her part in Leave Her To Heaven, which gave her the opportunity to show acting range and prove her talent wasn’t based off her beauty. Gene also loved playing young mother Midge Sheridan in Close To My Heart, calling it her “best role in half a dozen years.”
So what exactly happened with her daughter Daria? In March 1943, Gene made a last-minute appearance at the Hollywood Canteen before leaving for Fort Riley, Kansas, to join her husband Oleg Cassini. Among the many people she met that night was a marine who had been under camp quarantine for German measles, also known as rubella; the woman had snuck out to meet the stars. Days after, Gene had already contracted the illness, which had recently been discovered to cause birth defects in unborn children. Antoinette Daria Cassini was born premature in October, weighing only two and a half pounds, and already possessing a left eye cataract. She lacked any inner ear fluid, and was completely deaf at one year old. She had delayed mental development issues, and doctors told Gene that Daria was severely intellectually disabled and should be placed in an institution. Gene wanted to keep her daughter at home, but eventually placed four-year-old Daria in the Pennsylvania Langhorn School. Daria Cassini spent the rest of her life in a few different institutions, always frequently visited by Gene and later, her sister Tina. She passed away in 2010.