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Biography

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Overview (2)

Date of Birth 16 October 1917New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death 3 March 1966Hollywood, California, USA  (ovarian cancer)

Mini Bio (1)

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 Schmeeler, 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 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 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.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (2)

Paul Davis (20 September 1964 - 3 March 1966) (her death)
John Rox (22 May 1948 - 5 August 1957) (his death)

Trivia (9)

She won a posthumous comedy supporting actress Emmy for her side-splitting work as neighborhood snoop Gladys Kravitz on Bewitched (1964). Her award was accepted by her husband, Paul Davis. Only two years later, Marion Lorne, as delightfully dithery Aunt Clara, also won a posthumous Emmy in the very same acting category. Elizabeth Montgomery 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.
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.
Star Elizabeth Montgomery and husband/director William Asher 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.
Met second husband Paul Davis in 1957 when she was appearing in the Broadway musical "Bells Are Ringing" starring Judy Holliday. Alice replaced Jean Stapleton 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.
The network (ABC) broke into the prime-time broadcast of Bewitched (1964) to announce her death.
Alice portrayed blind date Lucy Schmeeler in the original Broadway stage version of "On the Town" and reprised her role in the classic movie musical On the Town (1949).
Biography in "Actresses of a Certain Character: Forty Familiar Hollywood Faces from the Thirties to the Fifties" by Axel Nissen.

Personal Quotes (1)

I feel the progress of the disease in my case is unusual because of my mental attitude. I am a supremely happy woman. I have never been beautiful, but I have been blessed with a rich career and the love of two fine men. The strength I have found in the devotion of my dear Paul is beyond measure.

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