Alice Pearce

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Alice Pearce
Alice Pearce Gladys Kravitz Bewitched 1966.jpg
As Gladys Kravitz in Bewitched
Born(1917-10-16)October 16, 1917
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedMarch 3, 1966(1966-03-03) (aged 48)
Hollywood, 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 Gladys Kravitz Bewitched 1966.jpg
As Gladys Kravitz in Bewitched
Born(1917-10-16)October 16, 1917
New York City, New York, U.S.
DiedMarch 3, 1966(1966-03-03) (aged 48)
Hollywood, 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

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 nosy neighbor Gladys Kravitz in the television sitcom 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]

Pearce was born in New York City, the only child of Margaret Clark and Robert E. Pearce.[1] Her father was a foreign banking specialist, and her family moved to Europe when she was 18-months-old. They lived in Brussels, Antwerp, Rome, and Paris.[2] At age nine, she fell off of a swing after losing her grip and landed on her chin. This left her with an undeveloped chin. She returned to the United States as a teenager, and boarded at the Masters School in Dobbs Ferry, New York.[3] She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College in 1940, with a degree in drama.[1][4] 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.[citation needed]

During the 1953–1954 television season, Pearce was seen regularly on ABC's Jamie, which starred Brandon de Wilde.[5] 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. In 1964, Pearce joined the cast of Bewitched as the nagging and nosy neighbor Gladys Kravitz. Pearce's scenes were almost entirely reactions to the 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. She played the role until her death in 1966, and was replaced by Sandra Gould.[6] Pearce was posthumously awarded an Emmy Award for this role; Davis accepted this award on her behalf.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Pearce was married twice; in 1948, she married composer John Rox. In 1957, Rox died of a heart attack.[3] In 1964, she married stage manager Paul Davis.[2] 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. She kept her illness a secret,[8] 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.

Selected filmography[edit]

Frank Sinatra, Pearce, Jules Munshin, Gene Kelly, Betty Garrett and Ann Miller in the film version of On the Town (1949)
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"
1953Broadway Television TheaterMiss Dale Ogden
Lady Emily Lyons
Episode: The Bat by Mary Roberts Rinehart and Avery Hopwood
Episode: The Bishop Misbehaves by Frederick J. Jackson
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 ElsieEpisode: "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

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Alice Pearce". TV Land. Viacom. Retrieved October 3, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Finally the Center of Attention". TV Guide 13 (52): 13–14. December 25–31, 1965. ISSN 0039-8543. 
  3. ^ a b Shearer, Lloyd (October 11, 1964). "Alice Pearce: The Chinless Wonder". Reading Eagle. Retrieved September 27, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Alice Pearce". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. Associated Press. March 4, 1966. Retrieved September 27, 2014. 
  5. ^ Terrace, Vincent (November 6, 2008). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2 ed.). McFarland & Company. p. 525. ISBN 978-0-7864-8641-0. Retrieved September 27, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Sandra Gould Played Gladys Kravitz". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. July 28, 1999. Retrieved September 27, 2014. 
  7. ^ Handsaker, Gene (May 23, 1966). "Miss Stanwyck, Cosby Are Top Performers". Nashua Telegraph. Associated Press. Retrieved September 28, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Terminal Illness". The Gettysburg Times. March 19, 1966. Retrieved September 28, 2014. 

External links[edit]