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Anne Whitfield, “White Christmas” and Prolific TV Star, Dead at 85

"She was a powerhouse in life and we hope her immense positive energy flows out to those who had the pleasure of knowing her," her family said

<p>CBS via Getty</p> Anne Whitfield in 1956

CBS via Getty

Anne Whitfield in 1956

Anne Whitfield, who starred in the perennial 1954 holiday classic White Christmas, has died, her family announced. She was 85.

Whitfield died Feb. 14, surrounded by her family at Valley Memorial Hospital in Yakima, Washington, following an “unexpected accident” during a walk in her neighborhood, according to her obituary.

“Through the kindness of neighbors who provided expert medical support, family had the gift to say goodbye and express love and gratitude, a gift we will always cherish,” her family wrote.

<p>NBCU Photo Bank</p> Anne Whitfield on 'Tate' in 1960

NBCU Photo Bank

Anne Whitfield on 'Tate' in 1960

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Whitfield was born on Aug. 27, 1938 in Oxford, Miss., and began her showbusiness career as a child actor when she moved to Hollywood at 4 years old. By the time she was 7, Whitfield had already scored roles on popular radio shows, including The Phil Harris and Alice Faye Show and One Man’s Family.

She scored her most well-known role at 15, playing Susan Waverly in White Christmas. Whitfield’s character was the granddaughter of Major General Thomas Waverly (Dean Jagger), a hotel owner who gets some cheering up courtesy of Irving Berlin tunes and characters played by Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney and Vera-Ellen.

“Just this past December during the holidays, Annie was able to watch White Christmas with her family on the movie’s 70th anniversary,” Whitfield’s obituary reads.

Whitfield spent most of her career on television. She starred in episodes of Peter Gunn, Manhunt, The Untouchables, Rawhide, The Donna Reed Show, The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, The Six Million Dollar Man and Emergency!

<p>CBS via Getty</p> Anne Whitfield in 1956

CBS via Getty

Anne Whitfield in 1956

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In the 1970s, Whitfield left Hollywood behind and moved to Olympia, Washington. She went back to college and earned a bachelor's in communications at Evergreen State College, and worked as a steward for Clean Water at the Department of Ecology for the State of Washington.

According to her family, Whitfield also traveled the world and became a tireless activist and community organizer, “working right up until the day she passed away.” In 2005, she moved to Burien, Washington to ruin a bed and breakfast. She spent her 85th birthday hiking with a close friend in the Italian Alps.

"Annie’s greatest wish is for her family and future generations to thrive in a world characterized by love, acceptance, natural beauty, and the cessation of political and social injustices," her obituary reads. "She was a powerhouse in life and we hope her immense positive energy flows out to those who had the pleasure of knowing her."

Whitfield is survived by her three children and seven grandchildren. A celebration of life is scheduled for March 22 at The Cove Community Club in Normandy Park, Washington.

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Read the original article on People.