Shirley Mitchell, Who Appeared in ‘I Love Lucy,’ Dies at 94

Shirley Mitchell Obit
J.Sciulli/WireImage

Shirley Mitchell, who had a recurring role on “I Love Lucy” as Lucy Ricardo’s friend Marion Strong as part of a seven-decade career that ended just last year, died Nov. 11 of heart failure in the Westwood area of Los Angeles. She was 94.

Mitchell was the widow of three-time Oscar-winning composer Jay Livingston, who penned the songs “Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be Will Be)” and “Mona Lisa” as well as the iconic theme from “Bonanza.”

In 2012 Mitchell impersonated Betty White for the animated series “Mad,” and in 2006 she voiced a role in a “Desperate Housewives” videogame. She made her screen debut in the 1944 film “Jamboree” and appeared steadily on television for decades starting in 1951 with a guest appearance on “Hollywood Theatre Time” and guesting on everything from “Dragnet” to “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.” She recurred on the series “Bachelor Father” in 1958-59 and as Mae Belle Jennings on “Petticoat Junction” and played a variety of roles on “The Jack Benny Program,” “Make Room for Daddy,” “The Red Skelton Hour,” “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies” and “Green Acres.” Other TV credits included “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “The Odd Couple,” “Three’s Company” and daytime soap “The Young and the Restless.”

She returned to the bigscreen in the 1980s after occasional uncredited roles with appearances in “Big Business,” starring Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin, and “The War of the Roses,” with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner.

Husband Jay Livingston died in 2001. Survivors include Mitchell’s sister-in-law, the Oscar-nominated “Sunset Blvd.” actress Nancy Olson.

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 4

Leave a Reply

4 Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

  1. Terry Knapp says:

    Nobody did a better southern belle than her Leila Ransom on Gildersleeve, full of fluttery coquettish-ness.

  2. Keith Coppage says:

    Shirley was delightfully charming as a pre-Rue McClanahan southern belle on “Petticoat Junction” and I believe also did voices for Hanna Barbara (“Roman Holidays”).

  3. Annie Lawson says:

    My children and I still so enjoy Ms. Mitchell as Leila Ransom in “The Great Gildersleeve” radio program from the ’40’s and ’50’s. Peace to her and her family.

  4. Jay Livingston also wrote the theme to MISTER ED — and the demo he made is the vocal you hear on the show.

More TV News from Variety

Loading