62 (passed away Oct. 13th, 1968)
Apr. 4th, 1906
New York City, New York, USA
Bea Benaderet's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles1951 - A Bear for Punishment
1949 - On the Town
1946 - Baseball Bugs
1946 - Notorious
1943 - A Corny Concerto
Guest TV Roles
Telephone Operator (Voiced)
Bea Benaderet had a remarkable career in radio and television. In the days before television, she provided the voices for hundreds of characters on the radio, on shows like "Fibber McGee and Molly," "My Favorite Husband" (with Lucille Ball), and the "Jack Benny Show." Benederet was born in New York City but raised in San Francisco and made her radio debut when she was 12 years old. After doing voice-overs and various roles, Orson Welles gave her a regular role on "Campbell Playhouse." Benederet made a smooth move from radio to television as she was cast in the role as Blanche Morton in "The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show" (1950). It was because of her role as Blanche that she could not accept the part of Ethel Mertz in "I Love Lucy" (1951), which was offered to her by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. She also provided the voice for several Warner Brothers cartoons, usually for females (the ones Mel Blanc could not do). Later, she worked with Blanc again on one of the most famous cartoons!
- You'd never guess it from her wholesome TV and radio appearances, but Bea could outcuss a navy boatswain. She would crack up her cast members on _"The Jack Benny Program" (1950)_ (qv) by betting on which lines announcer 'Don Wilson (I)' (qv) would screw up on each show.
- While attending the Reginald Travis School of Acting in San Francisco, she appeared with stock companies and little theaters, finding occasional employment as an actress, singer, writer, producer and announcer on radio.
- A prolific dialectician, she was one of the few female voice artists associated with Warner Bros. studio in its early days (as 'Mel Blanc' (qv) provided the majority of character voices at the time, even for the female characters). She never received screen credit due to Blanc's WB contract. She went on to play the "Granny" character from 1937 into the 1950s when 'June Foray' (qv) took over the vocal part. She reunited with Blanc in the 1960s when he voiced Barney Rubble to her Betty.
- Bea Benaderet was 'Lucille Ball' (qv)'s original choice for the role of Ethel Mertz on the _"I Love Lucy" (1951)_ (qv) show.
- Benaderet became ill with cancer in 1967, which led to her leaving _"Petticoat Junction" (1963)_ (qv) in what it was hoped would be a temporary retirement. 'Rosemary DeCamp' (qv) was brought in to play the Bradley girls' Aunt Helen in the scripts that were obviously written for Benaderet's character, Kate Bradley. Benaderet only managed to return twice on the show after her departure. Following her death, 'June Lockhart' (qv) was brought in as a surrogate mother figure and lady M.D. who sets up practice at the Shady Rest Hotel. Benaderet's anchoring presence was missed by the public, however, and the show lasted only two more seasons (1968-1970).
- She died during the run of her TV series _"Petticoat Junction" (1963)_ (qv), and a stand-in, seen only from the back, and with no dialogue to speak, was used for the last episode in which she supposedly appeared.
- Her son is actor 'Jack Bannon (I)' (qv).
- Her father, Samuel Benaderet, was a Turkish immigrant; her mother's name was Margaret O'Keefe Benaderet. Bea went on to have two children, Jack and Maggie, from her first marriage to actor 'Jim Bannon (I)' (qv).
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