Alice Pearce

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Alice Pearce
Alice Pearce.jpg
Born Alicia Pearce
(1917-10-16)October 16, 1917
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died March 3, 1966(1966-03-03) (aged 48)
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death
Ovarian cancer
Occupation Actress
Years active 1943–1966
Spouse(s) John Rox (1948–1957)
Paul Davis (1964–1966)
Awards Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

Alicia “Alice” Pearce (October 16, 1917 – March 3, 1966) was an American actress. She was brought to Hollywood by Gene Kelly to reprise her Broadway performance in the film version of On the Town (1949). Pearce played comedic supporting roles in several films, before being cast as Gladys Kravitz in Bewitched in 1964. She won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series posthumously after the second season of the series. She died from ovarian cancer in 1966.

Early life and career[edit]

Born in New York City, Pearce was educated in Europe and returned to the United States as an adult. She began working in nightclubs as a comedienne and was cast in the original Broadway production of On the Town (1944-1946). Gene Kelly was so impressed by her that she became the only cast member to be included in the film version in 1949. Her comedic performance was well received by critics and public alike, and she was given her own television variety show. More movie roles followed, and she made appearances on Broadway, where she met her husband, director Paul Davis, during a production of Bells Are Ringing.[citation needed]

Frank Sinatra, Pearce, Jules Munshin, Gene Kelly, Betty Garrett and Ann Miller in the film version of On the Town (1949)

During the 1953-1954 television season, Pearce was seen regularly on ABC's Jamie, which starred Brandon de Wilde. In 1964, Pearce was originally approached to play the part of Grandmama in the ABC television comedy series The Addams Family. She turned down the part, which went to veteran actress Blossom Rock. Pearce joined the cast of Bewitched as the nagging and nosy neighbor, Gladys Kravitz. Pearce's scenes were almost entirely reactions to the witchcraft she had witnessed at the house across the street. Her hysterical accusations against Samantha, played by Elizabeth Montgomery, and the disbelief of her husband Abner (George Tobias), provided a common thread through many of the series' early episodes. Pearce was posthumously awarded an Emmy Award for this role.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Pearce was married twice; in 1948, she married composer John Rox. In 1957, Rox died of a heart attack. In 1964, she married stage manager Paul Davis. Pearce had no children.

Pearce was also a good friend of actor and photographer Cris Alexander. When Alexander was working on the illustrations for Patrick Dennis's bestseller Little Me he asked Pearce to appear in the work as Winnie, the reform school friend of Belle Poitrine, the biography's subject. She also appeared as several characters in Dennis' and Alexander's later project, First Lady: My Thirty Days at the White House.

Death[edit]

Pearce was diagnosed with terminal cancer before Bewitched began. Pearce kept her illness a secret, although her rapid weight loss was quite evident during the second season of the sitcom. She died from ovarian cancer towards the end of the second year of Bewitched at the age of 48. Pearce was cremated and her ashes were scattered at sea.

After Pearce's death, the role of Gladys Kravitz was played by Sandra Gould.

Selected filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1949 On the Town Lucy Shmeeler
1949 The Alice Pearce Show Host Unknown episodes
1951 Lux Video Theatre Nina Episode: "Dames Are Poison"
1952 The Belle of New York Elsie Wilkins
1953 The Motorola Television Hour Hagga Episode: "The Thirteen Clocks"
1953–1954 Jamie Annie Moakum 3 episodes
1955 How to Be Very, Very Popular Miss "Syl" Sylvester
1955 Alice in Wonderland Dormouse Television movie
1956 The Opposite Sex Olga
1961 The Twilight Zone Mrs. Nielsen Episode: "Static"
1962 Lad: A Dog Hilda, the Nurse
1963 My Six Loves Bus Driver
1963 Tammy and the Doctor Millie Baxter, Nurse
1963 The Thrill of It All Irving's wife
1963 The Donna Reed Show Adele Collins Episode: " A Touch of Glamour"
1964 Dear Heart Miss Moore
1964 Hazel Miss Elsie S3/E17:"Hot Potato ala Hazel"
1964 The Disorderly Orderly Miss Fuzzibee, Talkative Patient
1964 Kiss Me, Stupid Mrs. Mulligan
1964–1966 Bewitched Gladys Kravitz 27 episodes
1965 Dear Brigitte Unemployment Office Clerk
1966 The Glass Bottom Boat Mabel Fenimore Alternative title: The Spy in Lace Panties
1967 Vacation Playhouse Music Teacher Episode: "My Boy Googie"
Aired posthumously

Awards[edit]

Year Award Category Title of work Result
1966 Emmy Award Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Comedy Bewitched Won
2003 TV Land Awards Nosiest Neighbor Bewitched Won

External links[edit]