Lucille Ball Protégé, ‘Sixteen Candles’ Actress Turns 98 Years Old – The Hollywood Reporter
Carole Cook, who used a career boost from Lucille Ball to build a career that includes three Broadway appearances and a role in Sixteen candles and Incredible Mr Limpet, has died. She was 98.
Cook died of heart failure on Wednesday, three days before her birthday, in Beverly Hills, her husband, actor Tom Troupe, announced.
On television, Cook appeared as the ex-wife of Walter Findlay (Bill Macy) on Maudeas the bar owner of Stella’s police hangout on Kojaklike Cora Van Husen above age and as Donna La Mar, girlfriend of Charlie Cagney (Dick O’Neill), on Cagney & Lacey.
Texans happily went to Hollywood on Ball’s orders and appeared in a 1959 episode of the comedian Westinghouse Desilu Theater. Ball convinced her to change her name from Mildred to Carole in honor of the actress she admired most, Carole Lombard.
Cook later worked alongside Ball for 18 episodes of Program Lucy from 1963-68 — often playing Thelma Green, Lucy Carmichael’s best friend — and five seasons of CBS’ This is Lucy from 1969-74. They even played a game Password together in 1965. She has red hair, so does her mentor.
Cook also portrayed Don Knotts’ character’s wife and watched him swim out of her life in Incredible Mr Limpet (1964) and Molly Ringwald’s emotional Mrs. Helen in John Hughes’ Sixteen candles (1984).
In 1965, she followed the legendary Carol Channing as the second actress to play Dolly Levi in Hello Dolly! – this was a lengthy Australian performance – and later appeared in original Broadway productions Romantic comedy and 42 streetdebuted in 1979 and ’80, respectively.
In September 2018, Cook and her husband were interviewed by TMZ outside Craig’s in West Hollywood, and she got into trouble when she suggested that President Trump should be assassinated. “Where is John Wilkes Booth when you need him, right?” she asked.
The Secret Service visited her and she pointed out that “they couldn’t be kinder. I said, ‘I can’t go to jail, stripes, they don’t look good to me.’”
One of four children, Mildred Frances Cook was born in Abilene, Texas, on January 14, 1924.
“Abilene isn’t exactly the center of Broadway—you can go all the way in the mesquite trees—but I saw my first show when I was four years old, knew I wanted to do it and I didn’t. never go astray,” she said in an interview. Interview July. “I started in the basement of First Baptist Church and made my way to Broadway, to see a movie.”
After graduating from Baylor College in 1945, where she studied Greek drama, blue-eyed Cook worked in regional theater and moved to Broadway in 1954 in the revival of Three-cent opera housereplaces Charlotte Rae as Mrs. Peachum in the cast.
She appeared in Kismet in Warren, Ohio, when she got a call from Ball, who had read a review of her performance in Annie take your gun and suggested that she go to California to audition for her company Desilu Workshop of young actors. (Future plebeian actor Nicholas Georgiade also started there.)
She signed with Desilu and even lived in Ball’s house after her divorce from Desi Arnaz.
On Christmas Eve 1959, Cook appeared on CBS’ Westinghouse Desilu Theater as one of the young performers being coached by Ball, Desilu’s co-founder, for a musical. Three weeks later, she made her screen debut in an episode directed by Robert Altman in the Desilu series. We Marshal.
In her first film, she flirts with a basketball coach (Jack Weston) in Palm Springs weekend (1963), starring Connie Stevens and Troy Donahue.
Cook’s resume also includes episodes Much Love by Dobie Gillis, That girl, McMillan & Wife, Chico and the man, Magnum, PI, age, Hart to Hart and Grey’s Anatomy – where she sings “Stormy Weather” – and movies like Long gloves (1977), American Gigolo (1980), Summer lovers (1982) and Home on the range (2004).
She and Doan married in March 1964, when Ball was their honorary and future patron. CHEAP columnist and TCM host Robert Osborne (another Desilu player) their best man. They acted together in plays like Lion in winter and Father’s Day and raise money for people living with HIV/AIDS.
In addition to her husband, survivors include her own son, Christopher, and his wife, Becky; Regina’s sister; and niece and nephew.
Donations in her memory can be made to the Entertainment Community Foundation (formerly the Actors Foundation).
In 2018, Cook sang and shared memories during a one-woman performance at the intimate club Feinstein’s/54 Below in New York. “At my age, play [here] not a career move,” she said. “I have more jewelry than this room.”