Darla Hood was born Dorla Jean Hood in Leedey, OK on Nov. 4, 1931. The only child of banker James Claude Hood, Jr., and the former Elizabeth Davner, a music teacher, Dorla Jo, as she was called at home, was introduced to singing and dancing lessons at an early age, trucked by her mother to the Duffy Dance Studios in Oklahoma City. When she was three years old, Hood's dance teacher brought her to New York City and treated the child to a visit to the ballroom of the Edison Hotel in Times Square. Invited onstage by the bandleader, Hood was allowed to conduct the orchestra and perform a solo. Among the delighted revelers that evening was Joe Rivkin, a casting director for Hal Roach Studios in Lo...