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Bea Benaderet Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (16)

Overview (2)

Date of Birth 4 April 1906New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death 13 October 1968Los Angeles, California, USA  (left lung carcinoma)

Mini Bio (1)

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!

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ken Severson

Spouse (2)

Gene Twombly (1957 - 13 October 1968) (her death)
Jim Bannon (1938 - 1950) (divorced) (2 children)

Trade Mark (1)

The voice of Betty Rubble in "The Flintstones" (1960)

Trivia (16)

Though rarely credited, Bea Benaderet was the voice of several female characters in many Warner Bros. Looney Tunes and Merrie Melodies cartoons.
Bea Benaderet was Lucille Ball's original choice for the role of Ethel Mertz on the I Love Lucy (1951) show.
Her son is actor Jack Bannon.
Was originally considered for the role of Granny in The Beverly Hillbillies (1962), but got the part of Cousin Pearl Bodine instead.
Her second husband, Gene Twombly, a sound-effects technician (both worked on The Jack Benny Program (1950)), died of a heart attack just four days after she died of cancer.
She was one of producer/creator Paul Henning's favorite character actresses. When developing The Beverly Hillbillies (1962), he kept Bea in mind, and, although she was interested in the role of Granny, Henning felt she was too "busty" for the role. During auditions for the role of Granny, it was Benaderet who pointed to Irene Ryan and told Henning, "There's your 'Granny'!".
She died during the run of her TV series Petticoat Junction (1963), 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.
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) by betting on which lines announcer Don Wilson would screw up on each show.
After her death of emphysema at age 62, Bea was buried at Pierce Brothers Valhalla Memorial Park in North Hollywood, California. Her second husband, Gene Twombly, died four days later (October 17, 1968) of a heart attack and was buried next to her.
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 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.
In 1936, she joined Orson Welles on radio's "The Campbell Playhouse" and received her first big break when she became a regular on Jack Benny'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's best friend on radio's "My Favorite Husband," which was the precursor to TV's I Love Lucy (1951).
Attended St. Rose Academy High School and began her acting studies at the Reginald Travis School of Acting in San Francisco.
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.
Benaderet became ill with cancer in 1967, which led to her leaving Petticoat Junction (1963) in what it was hoped would be a temporary retirement. Rosemary DeCamp 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 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).
A prolific dialectician, she was one of the few female voice artists associated with Warner Bros. studio in its early days (as Mel Blanc 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 took over the vocal part. She reunited with Blanc in the 1960s when he voiced Barney Rubble to her Betty.

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