Madge Blake

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Madge Blake
Born (1899-05-31)May 31, 1899
Kinsley, Kansas, USA
Died February 19, 1969(1969-02-19) (aged 69)
Pasadena, California, USA
Cause of death
Fall
Resting place
Grand View Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California, USA
Occupation Film, television actress
Years active 1949–69
Relatives Milburn Stone (uncle)

Madge Cummings Blake (May 31, 1899 – February 19, 1969) was an American character actress best remembered for her roles as Larry Mondello's mother, Margaret Mondello, on the CBS/ABC sitcom Leave it to Beaver, as Flora MacMichael on the ABC/CBS sitcom The Real McCoys, and as Aunt Harriet in the first two seasons of ABC's Batman.

Early life[edit]

Blake was born in Kinsley, Kansas, thirty-five miles east of Dodge City. Her father, Albert Cummings, was a Methodist who discouraged her from becoming an actress. As a result of her father's feelings, she did not enter acting until later in life. During World War II, Blake and her husband worked in Utah on construction of the detonator for the atomic bomb and performed such jobs as testing equipment destined for the Manhattan Project.[1]

Though she was five years his senior, Blake was a great niece of actor Milburn Stone, who carried the role of Doc Adams on CBS's Gunsmoke. She took advantage of his influence to help her land acting roles. In the middle 1950s, Blake appeared on Rod Cameron's City Detective syndicated crime drama and in Ray Milland's sitcom, Meet Mr. McNutley, renamed in the second season as The Ray Milland Show. Blake also appeared in four episodes of the NBC sitcom It's a Great Life, which aired from 1954-56.

Acting career[edit]

In addition to her Leave it to Beaver and Batman roles, Blake portrayed the gushy gossip columnist Dora Bailey in Singin' in the Rain (1952) and was a model for one of the fairies in Walt Disney's animated version of Sleeping Beauty (1959). Blake appeared as the babysitter, Mrs. Porter, in the 1959 pilot of CBS's Dennis the Menace. About this time, Blake was also cast in guest-starring role in the sitcoms, Guestward, Ho!, with Joanne Dru on ABC, and Angel, with Annie Fargé on CBS. In 1961, she guest starred in the episode "A View of Murder" of the syndicated crime drama The Brothers Brannagan.

Blake's Flora MacMichael is a romantic interest to Walter Brennan's Grandpa Amos McCoy in The Real McCoys, a popular six-year situation comedy about a West Virginia mountain family that relocated to southern California. Andy Clyde played Flora's brother, George MacMichael.

She also played the role of a pet shop owner in an episode of CBS's The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show.

Prior to her role in Batman, she had a recurring role on The Jack Benny Program as the president of The Jack Benny Fan Club - Pasadena Chapter. She appeared in the pilot episode of The Addams Family (broadcast in the U.S in September 1964) as Miss Comstock, an official from the Addams' children's school. Blake also appeared in a memorable episode of I Love Lucy in 1957 with George Reeves guest-starring as Superman and in an earlier episode in 1954 as store clerk, Mrs. Mulford.

At one point, the producers of Batman wanted to fire Blake for unknown reasons. Adam West, with whom she had become friends, stood up for her and she kept her job. The next day, he found a freshly baked cake in his dressing room.

Declining health and death[edit]

Declining health saw her role as Aunt Harriet reduced, and with the introduction of Batgirl in the third and final season of Batman she only appeared in two episodes that season as a guest role.

She was admitted to a hospital after falling at home and fracturing her ankle. She died at the age of 69 at Huntington Memorial Hospital in Pasadena, CA after a fall, a little more than a year after Batman had been cancelled.

Filmography[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Per obituary at Find-a-Grave

External links[edit]