Henny Backus

Actress, author

This article was updated on Tuesday, Dec. 28.

Actress and author Henny Backus, widow of actor Jim Backus, died Dec. 9 in Los Angeles after a series of strokes.

Backus, nee Henrietta Kaye, was born in Brooklyn and started in the business as a showgirl in the 1920s Broadway review “Earl Carroll’s Vanities.” She then joined an acting group formed by the WPA that included Orson Welles, John Houseman and Joseph Cotton.

She married Backus in 1943 and the couple moved to Hollywood, where they became known for lavish New Year’s Eve parties at their Bel-Air home.

She was best known for playing Cora Dithers opposite her husband in the 1968 sitcom “Blondie.” She also guested on “Gilligan’s Island” and “The Love Boat” and appeared in films including “Meet Me in Las Vegas,” “Holiday for Lovers” and “Hello Down There.”

With her husband, she wrote five lighthearted books of Hollywood anecdotes, including 1962’s “What Are You Doing After the Orgy.”

She is survived by a sister, a brother and three nieces.

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