48 (passed away Mar. 3rd, 1966)
Oct. 16th, 1917
New York City, New York, USA
Alice Pearce's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles1966 - The Glass Bottom Boat
1965 - Dear Brigitte
1964 - The Disorderly Orderly
1963 - The Thrill of It All
1952 - The Belle of New York
1949 - On the Town
Guest TV Roles
Lahona St Cyr
Miss Dale Ogden
Making a career out of a post-nasal drip, this scene-stealing character comedienne was one of the best Broadway and Hollywood had to offer. It's too bad, then, that she wasn't utilized in films more often for this slight, chinless, parrot-faced, squawky-voiced bundle of (kill)joy could draw laughs from a well with a mere sniffle, gulp, or stare.
Plaintive Alice Pearce was born in New York City, the only child of a bank vice-president, but was raised in different European schools -- wherever her father had business. Eventually Alice settled back in NYC and began to gather experience in summer stock shows. She became a huge hit on the nightclub circuit which eventually paved the way to Broadway. She drew raves in the "New Faces of 1943" and was sensational in the role of Lucy Shmeeler, the sexless, adenoidal blind date, in the New York smash "On the Town" the very next year. As a testament to her talent, Alice was the only performer kept on board when Gene Kelly (I) transferred the sailors-on-leave musical to film. Strangely, this did not lead to a slew of comedy vehicles, but Alice certainly sparked a number of fluffy films, even in the tiniest of roles -- never more so than as the hypochondriac patient who expounds on her physical ailments ad nauseum while overly-attentive Jerry Lewis (I) suffers through a wrenching series of "sympathy pains" in The Disorderly Orderly (1964). It's slapstick comedy at its very best.
TV proved an attractive medium for her as well, hosting her own variety show briefly in 1949. Her career ended on a high note as the nagging, irrepressibly nosy neighbor Gladys Kravitz in the "Bewitched" (1964) sitcom. Ideally teamed with George Tobias as her hen-pecked husband, Abner, the two provided non-stop hilarity -- her frightened gulps, blank gaze and confused exasperation coupled with his dour disgust was comedy heaven. Sadly, Pearce developed ovarian cancer and died in 1966, only two seasons into the show. She was only 48. She quite deservedly won an Emmy trophy for her work a few months after her death. Hollywood lost a treasured talent in Alice Pearce, gone way before her time.
- First husband, composer John Rox, was a songwriter and stage and film composer who wrote such hits as "It's a Big, Wide, Wonderful World." They put together Alice's nightclub acts for such venues as the Blue Angel in New York during the 40s.
- Met second husband Paul Davis in 1957 when she was appearing in the Broadway musical "Bells Are Ringing" starring 'Judy Holliday' (qv). Alice replaced 'Jean Stapleton' (qv) in the show and Paul was the stage manager.
- In May of 1964 Alice had surgery and was already diagnosed with terminal cancer by the time she began the "Bewitched" sitcom in September of that year. She managed to keep it a secret and passed away 1 1/2 years into the series.
- She won a posthumous comedy supporting actress Emmy for her side-splitting work as neighborhood snoop Gladys Kravitz on _"Bewitched" (1964)_ (qv). Her award was accepted by her husband, Paul Davis. Only two years later, 'Marion Lorne' (qv), as delightfully dithery Aunt Clara, also won a posthumous Emmy in the very same acting category. 'Elizabeth Montgomery (I)' (qv) accepted the award for Ms. Lorne.
- Educated in schools in Europe (Belgium, France, Italy, etc.), she returned to the States at age 15 and eventually attended Sarah Lawrence College in Bronxville, New York, graduating in 1940.
- Portrayed Lucy Smeeler in the original Broadway stage version of On The Town and reprised her role in the movie On The Town (1949).
- The network (ABC) broke into the prime-time broadcast of _"Bewitched" (1964)_ (qv) to announce her death.
- Star 'Elizabeth Montgomery (I)' (qv) and husband/director 'William Asher' (qv) helped Alice's husband after her death by giving him a job as a director on the "Bewitched" series. Davis, once a Broadway director, had given up his career to nurse Alice through her final illness.
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