WOMEN’S MOTOCROSS PIONEER KASEY ROGERS DIES OF STROKE

According to the Los Angeles Times, Kasey Rogers, a film and television actress who appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s “Strangers on a Train” and had regular roles on TV’s “Peyton Place” and “Bewitched” before becoming a pioneering women’s motocross promoter, has died. She was 80. Rogers died July 6 at the University of Southern California’s University Hospital from a stroke brought on by complications of treatment for throat cancer, said her companion, Mark Wood.

On “Peyton Place,” the 1960s prime-time soap opera, Rogers played Julie Anderson, the long-suffering mother of Betty Anderson played by Barbara Parkins. On the ’60s sitcom”Bewitched,” she replaced Irene Vernon in the role of Louise Tate, the wife of Darrin Stephens’ boss Larry Tate. Under the name Laura Elliot while under contract to Paramount in the late 1940s and early ’50s, Rogers’ most notable credit, on loan-out to Warner Bros., was Hitchcock’s 1951 thriller “Strangers on a Train.” She played Farley Granger’s estranged wife, Miriam, who is strangled by the psychotic character played by Robert Walker.

Born Imogene Rogers in Morehouse, Mo., on Dec. 15, 1925, Rogers moved with her family to Burbank as a child. She earned the nickname Casey, a reference to the poem “Casey at the Bat,” because of her hitting prowess in grade-school baseball and later changed the C to a K. Among her films while under contract at Paramount are “Special Agent,” “Denver and Rio Grand,” “Silver City” and, on loan-out, “Two Lost Worlds,” a low-budget fantasy-adventure opposite a pre-“Gunsmoke” James Arness. On television, she appeared in series such as “Wanted: Dead or Alive,” “Bat Masterson,” “Cheyenne,” “Maverick,” “Perry Mason,” “77 Sunset Strip” and “Adam-12.”

When her son, Mike, took up riding motorcycles in the early ’70s, Rogers followed suit and soon began racing motorcycles competitively. She also wrote a column on women’s racing for Modern Cycle Magazine and the Los Angeles Herald Examiner, as well as writing feature stories on racing events. In 1974, according to WomensMXHistory.com, she established the PURR PowderPuffs Unlimited Riders and Racers association and spearheaded the first Powder Puff National held the same year. A year later, she convinced the promoter of the Superbowl of Motocross to allow 10 top women to compete in a Women’s Invitational Trophy Dash at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. She stopped racing in 1977.

Twice married and divorced, Rogers is survived by her brother, James Rogers; four children, James Donnellan, Mona Lewis, Monika Winslow and Michael Lewis; six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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