TV 'Topper' star dead
LOS ANGELES, California (AP) -- Robert Sterling, the handsome star of 1940s
movies who appeared with his wife Anne Jeffreys in the television series
"Topper," died Tuesday at his Brentwood home. He was 88.
Sterling died of natural causes following a decade-long battle with shingles,
said his son, Jeffrey. His wife and other close relatives were at his
Although he appeared in dozens of movies, Sterling was best known for the
1953-1956 TV series "Topper," based on the Thorne Smith novel, and the 1937 film
starring Cary Grant and Constance Bennett.
Sterling and Jeffreys played George and Marion Kirby, a fun-loving couple who
were killed in an accident but returned as ghosts to haunt the new occupant of
their home, a banker named Cosmo Topper.
Sterling was born William Hart in 1917 in New Castle, Pennsylvania, the son
of Chicago Cubs catcher William S. Hart. He attended college in Pennsylvania and
worked as a clothing salesman before breaking into movies.
He proved a versatile player, especially in romantic roles, and appeared in
five films in 1941, including the romantic comedy "Two-Faced Woman" with Greta
Garbo and "The Penalty" with Lionel Barrymore.
After "Topper," Sterling retired from acting to become a businessman.
Sterling was married to actress Ann Sothern from 1943 to 1949 and they had a
daughter, actress Tisha Sterling. He married Jeffreys in 1951 and they had three
sons: Jeffrey, Dana and Tyler.