Bettye Ackerman


Bettye Ackerman, who played Dr. Maggie Graham on the “Ben Casey” medical series in the 1960s and was the widow of actor Sam Jaffe, died Nov. 1 in Columbia, S.C. of Alzheimer’s. She was 82.

Ackerman played an anesthesiologist on “Ben Casey,” the ABC series that ran from 1961-1966.

Born in Walterboro, S.C., Ackerman grew up in Williston, S.C. and launched her acting career while doing graduate work in theater at Columbia University. Ackerman met Jaffe when they appeared together in a New York stage production of Moliere’s “Tartuffe” in 1955. Jaffe, who had played the title role in “Gunga Din” and the High Lama in “Lost Horizon,” was more than 30 years Ackerman’s senior; they were married in 1956. Despite the age difference, the actors had a successful 28-year marriage until Jaffe’s death in 1984.

Ackerman, who made her film debut in the 1959 drama “Face of Fire” with Cameron Mitchell and James Whitmore, appeared on TV series including “Perry Mason,” “Police Story,” “The Waltons” and “St. Elsewhere.”

She also was the original Constance MacKenzie on the daytime soap “Return to Peyton Place,” which ran from 1972 to 1974.

She is survived by two brothers. .

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