October 4, 1892|
Butte, Montana, U.S.
|Died||March 1, 1964
Costa Mesa, California, U.S.
Kathryn Card (October 4, 1892 – March 1, 1964) was an American radio, television and film actress who may be best remembered for her role as Mrs. McGillicuddy, Lucy's mother on I Love Lucy.
Born in Butte, Montana, Card did radio roles in the late 1930s, notably Uncle Walter's Doghouse, broadcast on NBC from 1939 to 1942. Her first screen credit was in 1945 for her role as Louise in the Corliss Archer movie Kiss and Tell, starring Shirley Temple as Corliss Archer. The next year she appeared in Undercurrent with Robert Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, and Robert Mitchum. Then, in 1949, Card gave an interesting albeit brief performance (uncredited) as an extremely polite but no-nonsense loan processor for prospective borrower Joan Bennett in The Reckless Moment.
Card also had a small role as a landlady of The Oleander Arms Hotel in the 1954 Warner Brothers remake of A Star Is Born. Her part consisted of one scene early in the film when movie actor Norman Maine (played by James Mason) is desperately trying to find Esther Blodgett, a girl singer he had only met briefly (played by Judy Garland). Shortly after the movie's release, Warner Brothers made extensive cuts of the film and Card's role was deleted entirely until 1983 when film historian Ronald Haver found the original monaural three-hour soundtrack along with most of the missing footage and restored the scenes. Even though Card's scene with James Mason had been preserved aurally, there was no existing footage or stills of their scene together, so Haver "manufactured" stills of the scene using another actress to stand in for Card to accompany the dialogue with Card and Mason on the soundtrack.
On February 8, 1954, Card made her first television appearance in an episode of I Love Lucy. The installment, entitled "Fan Magazine Interview", featured Card playing a slatternly woman named Minnie Finch. The following year she was cast as a totally different character, Mrs. McGillicuddy, Lucy's bird-brained mother. She joined the Ricardos and the Mertzes in Hollywood when Lucy's husband, Ricky Ricardo, was given the opportunity to star in a motion picture. Mrs McGillicuddy would frequently annoy Ricky immeasurably by mistakenly calling him "Mickey" or mistaking him for his fellow bandleader Xavier Cugat. She portrayed that character in five episodes during the 1954-1955 season, and appeared in three more installments during the 1955-1956 season when the Ricardos and the Mertzes traveled to Europe. However, Card's character never appeared again once both couples moved to Connecticut in the following year. She reprised that role for the last time in one episode of The Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Show entitled "The Ricardos Go To Japan", which also featured guest star Robert Cummings, in 1959.
In addition to I Love Lucy, Card guest starred on several other television shows. She made two guest appearances in 1959 on Perry Mason, as Hannah Barton in "The Case of the Deadly Toy," and Harriet Snow in "The Case of the Watery Witness." Other television appearances included Make Room for Daddy, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and Rawhide. Her final film appearance was in the 1964 MGM musical The Unsinkable Molly Brown.
On March 1, 1964, Card suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 71 at her home in Costa Mesa, California. She is interred in Harbor Lawn-Mount Olive Memorial Park in Costa Mesa.
- Kathryn Card at Find a Grave
- Kathryn Card at the Internet Movie Database
- A Star Is Born: The Making of the 1954 Movie and its 1983 Restoration. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. 1988. ISBN 0-394-53714-9. (Free preview at Amazon.com)