Whitney Blake, who portrayed comedian Shirley Booth’s housewife-employer in the TV series “Hazel” and later co-created the edgier sitcom “One Day at a Time,” died Saturday Sept. 28 at her home in Edgartown, Mass., after a lengthy illness. She was 76. Blake portrayed upscale Dorothy Baxter, wife to Don DeFore’s George Baxter, from 1961 to 1965 on “Hazel,” modeled on the maid in Ted Key’s Saturday Evening Post cartoons.
Later she co-created with her husband the Bonnie Franklin starrer “One Day at a Time,” about a very different household: a divorced single mother in an Indianapolis apartment. Show aired 1975-84.
Eagle Rock, Calif., native began acting at the famed Pasadena Playhouse and returned there as often as possible perform in Shakespeare plays to musicals. She also performed in such fabled TV shows as “Playhouse 90,” “Zane Grey Theater,” early episodes of “Maverick” and “Bonanza” and the first episode of “Perry Mason.”
Feature work included “My Gun Is Quick,” opposite Jack Webb in newspaper film “-30-” and with Laurence Olivier, Robert Duvall and Tommy Lee Jones in “The Betsy.” She hosted L.A. CBS daytime home show “Boutique” in the 1960s, and in the 1980s produced and directed docu “Reno’s Kids: 87 Days Plus 11,” about a teacher and his wilderness class for troubled teens.
Civil rights activist is survived by her husband, writer-producer Allan Manings; two sons, Richard and Brian; her daughter, actress Meredith Baxter; nine grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
Donations can be made in her memory to Planned Parenthood.