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Laura La Plante, a leading lady in Universal Pictures silent movies of the 1920s, died Monday, the Motion Picture and Television Hospital said. She was 92.

La Plante began acting in comedies at 15. Her first break came in 1921, when she appeared in "The Old Swimmin' Hole," winning a contract with Universal.

In 1923, she was named a Wampas Baby star and headed a cast of numerous films, initially Westerns and later comedies and melodramas.

Billed as a girl-next-door type, she is best remembered as the heroine of Gothic dramas such as "The Cat and the Canary" and as Magnolia in the 1929 version of "Showboat."

She retired in the early 1930s after appearing in 50 films and serials and married Warner Bros. producer Irving Asher in 1934. Twice she came out of retirement to play character parts -- in 1946 in "Little Mister Jim" and in 1957 in "Spring Reunion."

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