Lenore Emily LaFount
b.9 Nov 1908 Logan, Cache, Utah, United States
d.7 Jul 1998 Bloomfield Hills, Oakland, Michigan, United States
Facts and Events
Lenore LaFount Romney (born Lenore Lafount but adopted the variation LaFount;Cite error 3; Invalid call; invalid keys, e.g. too many or wrong key specified November 9, 1908 – July 7, 1998) was the wife of American businessman and politician George W. Romney and was First Lady of Michigan from 1963 to 1969. She was the Republican Party nominee for the U.S. Senate in 1970 from Michigan. Her youngest son, Mitt Romney, is the former Governor of Massachusetts and was the 2012 Republican presidential nominee.
Lenore LaFount was born in Logan, Utah, and raised in Salt Lake City. She went to Latter-day Saints High School, where she developed an interest in drama and first met George Romney. She attended the University of Utah and George Washington University, graduating from the latter in 1929. She studied acting at the American Laboratory Theatre in New York, then went to Hollywood where she became a bit player who appeared in a number of films with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Turning down a contract offer with them, she married George Romney in 1931. The couple had four children together; she was a stay-at-home mother, eventually living in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, while he became a success in business and politics.
Lenore Romney was a popular First Lady of Michigan and was a frequent speaker at events and before civic groups. She was involved with many charitable, volunteer, and cultural organizations, including high positions with the Muscular Dystrophy Association, YWCA, and American Field Services, and also was active in the LDS Church that she was a lifelong member of. She was an asset to her husband's 1968 presidential campaign. Although a traditionalist, she was an advocate for the greater involvement of women in business and politics.
In 1970, she was urged by her husband and state Republican Party officials to run against popular, two-term Democratic incumbent Senator Philip Hart. However, she struggled to establish herself as a serious candidate apart from her husband and failed to capture the support of conservatives within the party, only narrowly defeating State Senator Robert J. Huber in the party primary. Her difficulties continued in the general election and she lost to Hart by a two-to-one margin. She returned to volunteer activities during the 1970s, including stints on the boards of the National Center for Voluntary Action and the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and gave speeches to various organizations.