Eleanor Mondale Poling, a former television and radio personality and the daughter of former Vice President Walter F. Mondale, died early Saturday at her home in Prior Lake, Minn. She was 51.
The cause was brain cancer, which she had been battling since 2005.
“She was a wonderful daughter,” Mondale said in telephone interview from his daughter’s home, where relatives and friends had gathered. “A great spirit, a lot of courage. She fought this stuff almost six years now and never a whimper.
Eleanor Jane Mondale was born in Minneapolis on Jan. 19, 1960, the second of three children of Mondale and his wife, Joan. When she was 4, her father was appointed to the Senate seat vacated by Hubert H. Humphrey, who had become Lyndon B. Johnson’s vice president. She graduated from St. Timothy’s School in Maryland and St. Lawrence University, in Canton, N.Y. In college and soon afterward, she spent time in Los Angeles auditioning for television and movie roles, landing small parts in several TV shows, including “Three’s Company” and “Dynasty.”
She also appeared on the campaign trail, stumping for her father in 1984 during his failed campaign to unseat President Ronald Reagan.
Mondale told Newsweek in 1985 that having a famous father was a mixed blessing in Hollywood. “The exposure didn’t hurt,” she said. “But being Walter Mondale’s daughter doesn’t make me a good actress. I have to prove myself five times over; I have to overcompensate.”