Bruce began her entertainment career as a Montreal nightclub singer and went on to captivate Broadway audiences with her sultry voice in the 1940 musical comedy “Louisiana Purchase.”
She appeared in the films “This Woman Is Mine,” “Keep ’em Flying” and “Behind the Eight Ball” between 1941 and 1942, then returned to the stage, where she was praised for her Broadway performances in the 1946 revival of “Showboat.”
She was nominated for a Tony Award for her role in the Broadway show “Do I Hear a Waltz?” in 1965.
In 1979, she took over the role that Sylvia Sidney had originated on “WKRP in Cincinnati” a year earlier as Mama Carlson, the tough-talking owner of a radio station managed by her son Arthur, played by Gordon Jump. Bruce kept the recurring role until the series ended in 1982.
Her other TV credits included “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” “The Golden Girls,” “The Twilight Zone,” “Diff’rent Strokes,” “Party of Five” and “Knots Landing.”