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Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (7)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 8 September 1914Astoria, New York, USA
Date of Death 25 May 1999Bonsall, California, USA  (blood clot in the lung)
Birth NameBeatrice Sofia Mathilda Peterson
Height 5' 6" (1.68 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Hillary Brooke was born on September 8, 1914 in Astoria, New York, USA as Beatrice Sofia Mathilda Peterson. She was an actress, known for The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), The Woman in Green (1945) and Africa Screams (1949). She was married to Raymond A. Klune and Jack Voglin. She died on May 25, 1999 in Bonsall, California, USA.

Spouse (2)

Raymond A. Klune (12 March 1960 - 24 September 1988) (his death)
Jack Voglin (17 December 1941 - 21 July 1948) (divorced)

Trivia (7)

Had two children with second husband: son Donald and stepdaughter Carol
Although she spoke with an English accent, she wasn't British; she was actually from Astoria, New York. She said that she cultivated that accent at the beginning of her career in order to set her apart from all the other tall blondes she would be competing with for parts. The tactic worked so well that producers who hired "the blonde with the British accent" expected to hear a blonde with a British accent on the screen, so she was forced to use the accent whenever she worked, and wound up using it all the time, even off screen.
Producers tended to think of her as too intelligent and self-possessed to be sexy, so she never got the lead and seldom got the man. She displayed a real flair for comedy, however, and appeared with Bob Hope (Monsieur Beaucaire (1946)) and Red Skelton (The Fuller Brush Man (1948)) and, of course, was a regular as Lou Costello's semi-girlfriend on The Abbott and Costello Show (1952). Some other notable pictures in which she was cast include The Philadelphia Story (1940), Lady in the Dark (1944), Jane Eyre (1943), Ministry of Fear (1944), The Enchanted Cottage (1945) and The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956).
She is best remembered for her incongruous role as Lou Costello's girlfriend (of sorts) on The Abbott and Costello Show (1952) as well as Vernon Albright (Charles Farrell)'s girl friend on My Little Margie (1952). Both shows are still seen today in syndication and on home video. With her regal British accent--even though she wasn't British--and upper-class, ladylike demeanor, Brooke was treated as a goddess by Costello and Bud Abbott on the show and was seldom subject to the usual slapstick other actresses on the show were. Even off screen she was treated the same way by the team. They were notorious for their love of practical jokes, which they often played on cast and crew (and which were often, as could be expected from veteran burlesque comics like them, somewhat risqué). Brooke, however, was never on the receiving end of any of their pranks even though, as she once noted in an interview, she would love to have been.
In The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), she played the character Jan Peterson, a friend of Doris Day's character. Peterson was Brooke's real birth name.
Educated at Columbia University. Prior to her acting career, she worked as a photographer's model.
She was appearing in television commercials long before it was fashionable (and profitable) for movie stars to do, namely promoting the Foodarama Refrigerator by Kelvinator in the mid 1950's. During this time, Cinerama was being made famous in movie theaters and everything from laundramats to trailer parks became "launderama" and trailerama" in hitching their wagon to the Cinerama star.

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