was a successful child star
in movies between 1938
Born Joan Felt
in 1932 in New Jersey
, she became an accomplished child actress, scoring personal successes in the Broadway hit Panama Hattie
and the 1940 Ginger Rogers
film Primrose Path
. She became RKO Radio Pictures
' resident juvenile personality in both "A" and "B" pictures. RKO starred Carroll in two zany comedy vehicles
, Obliging Young Lady
and Petticoat Larceny
. Unlike the sweet screen portrayals of Shirley Temple
, Joan Carroll's characters were mischievous and streetwise; her delivery of dialogue was naturalistic, and she often showed more maturity than the adult characters.
She continued to work in films as an adolescent, but less frequently. Two of her best-remembered pictures came from this period: Meet Me In St. Louis (1944), in which she played Margaret O'Brien's older sister; and The Bells of St. Mary's (1945), in which she appears as a troubled teen confronted with her parents' separation.