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 - Red Hot Riding Hood
Guest TV Roles
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!
- In 1936, she joined 'Orson Welles' (qv) on radio's "The Campbell Playhouse" and received her first big break when she became a regular on 'Jack Benny' (qv)'s big radio show, where she created memorable characters such as Gertrude Gearshift. A major radio staple at the time, her numerous appearances included the comedies "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet," "The Great Gildersleeve" and "Fibber McGee and Molly." She also played 'Lucille Ball' (qv)'s best friend on radio's "My Favorite Husband," which was the precursor to TV's _"I Love Lucy" (1951)_ (qv).
- 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.
- Her second husband, Gene (Eugene Twombly), a sound-effects technician (both worked on the Jack Benny Program), died of a heart attack just four days after she died of cancer.
- 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.
- 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.
- Born in New York City and raised in San Francisco, Bea was discovered by the manager of radio station KGO, who spotted her singing in a children's production of The Beggar's Opera, and put her on the radio as a singer.
- 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).
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