Alice Pearce

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Alice Pearce
Alice Pearce.jpg
BornAlicia Pearce
(1917-10-16)October 16, 1917
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedMarch 3, 1966(1966-03-03) (aged 48)
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Ovarian cancer
OccupationActress
Years active1943–1966
Spouse(s)John Rox (1948–1957)
Paul Davis (1964–1966)
AwardsPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series
 
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Alice Pearce
Alice Pearce.jpg
BornAlicia Pearce
(1917-10-16)October 16, 1917
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedMarch 3, 1966(1966-03-03) (aged 48)
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Ovarian cancer
OccupationActress
Years active1943–1966
Spouse(s)John Rox (1948–1957)
Paul Davis (1964–1966)
AwardsPrimetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Alicia “Alice” Pearce (October 16, 1917 – March 3, 1966) was an American actress. She was brought to Hollywood by Gene Kelly to reprise her Broadway performance in the film version of On the Town (1949). Pearce played comedic supporting roles in several films, before being cast as Gladys Kravitz in Bewitched in 1964. She won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series posthumously after the second season of the series. She died from ovarian cancer in 1966.

Early life and career[edit]

Born in New York City, Pearce was educated in Europe and returned to the United States as an adult. She began working in nightclubs as a comedienne and was cast in the original Broadway production of On the Town (1944-1946). Gene Kelly was so impressed by her that she became the only cast member to be included in the film version in 1949. Her comedic performance was well received by critics and public alike, and she was given her own television variety show. More movie roles followed, and she made appearances on Broadway, where she met her husband, director Paul Davis, during a production of Bells Are Ringing.

Frank Sinatra, Pearce, Jules Munshin, Gene Kelly, Betty Garrett and Ann Miller in the film version of On the Town (1949)

During the 1953-1954 television season, Pearce was seen regularly on the live ABC weekly sitcom Jamie starring Brandon deWilde.

In 1964, Pearce was originally approached to play the part of Grandmama in the ABC television comedy series The Addams Family. She turned down the part, which went to veteran actress Blossom Rock. Pearce then joined the cast of the ABC television series Bewitched. As the nagging and nosy neighbor, Gladys Kravitz, Pearce's scenes were almost entirely reactions to acts of witchcraft she had witnessed at the house across the street. Her hysterical accusations against Samantha, played by Elizabeth Montgomery, and the disbelief of her husband Abner (George Tobias), provided a common thread through many of the series' early episodes. Pearce was posthumously awarded an Emmy Award for this role, which was, according to her, her favorite role.

Personal life[edit]

Pearce was married twice; in 1948, she married composer John Rox. In 1957, Rox died of a heart attack. In 1964, she married stage manager Paul Davis. Pearce had no children.

Pearce was also a good friend of actor and photographer Cris Alexander. When Alexander was working on the illustrations for Patrick Dennis's bestseller Little Me he asked Pearce to appear in the work as Winnie, the reform school friend of Belle Poitrine, the biography's subject. She also appeared as several characters in Dennis' and Alexander's later project, First Lady: My Thirty Days at the White House.

Death[edit]

Pearce was diagnosed with terminal cancer before Bewitched began. Pearce kept her illness a secret, although her rapid weight loss was quite evident during the second season of the sitcom. She died from ovarian cancer towards the end of the second year of Bewitched at the age of 48. Pearce was cremated and her ashes were scattered at sea.

After Pearce's death, the role of Gladys Kravitz was played by Sandra Gould.

Selected filmography[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
1949On the TownLucy Shmeeler
1949The Alice Pearce ShowHostUnknown episodes
1951Lux Video TheatreNinaEpisode: "Dames Are Poison"
1952The Belle of New YorkElsie Wilkins
1953The Motorola Television HourHaggaEpisode: "The Thirteen Clocks"
1953–1954JamieAnnie Moakum3 episodes
1955How to Be Very, Very PopularMiss "Syl" Sylvester
1955Alice in WonderlandDormouseTelevision movie
1956The Opposite SexOlga
1961The Twilight ZoneMrs. NielsenEpisode: "Static"
1962Lad: A DogHilda, the Nurse
1963My Six LovesBus Driver
1963Tammy and the DoctorMillie Baxter, Nurse
1963The Thrill of It AllIrving's wife
1963The Donna Reed ShowAdele CollinsEpisode: " A Touch of Glamour"
1964Dear HeartMiss Moore
1964HazelMiss ElsieS3/E17:"Hot Potato ala Hazel"
1964The Disorderly OrderlyMiss Fuzzibee, Talkative Patient
1964Kiss Me, StupidMrs. Mulligan
1964–1966BewitchedGladys Kravitz27 episodes
1965Dear BrigitteUnemployment Office Clerk
1966The Glass Bottom BoatMabel FenimoreAlternative title: The Spy in Lace Panties
1967Vacation PlayhouseMusic TeacherEpisode: "My Boy Googie"
Aired posthumously

Awards[edit]

YearAwardCategoryTitle of workResult
1966Emmy AwardOutstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a ComedyBewitchedWon
2003TV Land AwardsNosiest NeighborBewitchedWon

External links[edit]