May 30, 1904
Menominee, Michigan, USA
|Died||March 31, 1979
|Resting place||Forest Lawn Memorial Park in Glendale|
|Alma mater||University of California, Los Angeles|
|Occupation||Stage, film, and television actress|
|Spouse(s)||Rowland G. Edwards (1928-1953, his death)|
Doris Packer (May 30, 1904 – March 31, 1979) was an American actress, possibly best known for her recurring role as Mrs. Cornelia Rayburn, Theodore Cleaver's elementary school principal in the television series, Leave It to Beaver.
Packer portrayed the mother of millionaire playboy Chatsworth Osborne, Jr. (Steve Franken), on CBS's The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, with Dwayne Hickman in the title role. Prior to playing Chatsworth's mother, she had been cast as Clarice Armitage, mother of Milton Armitage (Warren Beatty), whose character on the series Chatsworth replaced. In most of her screen roles, she was known for her aristocratic and intellectual bearing and precise use of the English language.
Packer was born Doris Edwards in Menominee in Menominee County in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Her family moved to southern California when she was quite young. She became interested in acting while in high school. After attending the University of California at Los Angeles, she moved to New York City to study under noted drama teacher Evelyn Thomas. Packer also appeared in Broadway shows.
During World War II, Packer enlisted in the U.S. Army Women's Army Corps (WACs), joining in 1943 as a Private and eventually reaching the rank of Technical Sergeant. Her discharge records were likely lost in the 1973 fire at the National Personnel Records Center.
In 1954, she appeared as Florence on an episode ("Sixteen Vertical") of Rod Cameron's crime drama series, City Detective. In 1955-1956, Packer appeared three times as a nurse in the NBC sitcom It's a Great Life, featuring Frances Bavier. In 1958, she guest-starred on Rod Cameron's subsequent syndicated series, State Trooper, in "The Last Stage Robbery", an episode with a surprise ending.
Packer played wealthy society matrons on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show and I Love Lucy and as Mrs. Wiley on The Andy Griffith Show. She had a recurring role as Clara Mason in the 1960-1961 NBC trivial sitcom Happy, set at a Palm Springs motel and featuring a talking baby. Her co-stars included Ronnie Burns, Yvonne Lime Fedderson, and Lloyd Corrigan. Packer played Mrs. McGillicuddy in the 1961 episode "Gladys' Political Campaign" on the CBS sitcom, Pete and Gladys, with Harry Morgan and Cara Williams. She played the wealthy Mrs Huntingdon in a 1963 episode "I'm No Henry Walden!" on CBS's The Dick Van Dyke Show. She appeared on three episodes of The Beverly Hillbillies as wealthy matron Mrs. Fenwick. She made a guest appearance on Perry Mason in 1962 as Mrs. Campion in "The Case of the Polka Dot Pony."
Packer appeared on NBC's anthology series, The Barbara Stanwyck Show. In 1964–1965, Packer appeared on the short-lived CBS sitcom, Many Happy Returns, starring John McGiver and set in the complaint division of a fictitious Los Angeles department store with the unlikely name of Crockmyer's. In 1973, she guest-starred in an episode of the situation comedy A Touch of Grace.
She died at the age of seventy-four in 1979 in Glendale, California, from natural causes.
- "LYTELL TO STAR IN PLAY.: " Reunion In Vienna" Starts Stock Season at Newark Monday". The New York Times. April 15, 1933. pp. 16 Section: Amusements. Retrieved December 8, 2011.
The Broad Street Theatre will open a stock season on Monday night...Doris Packer will have the Lynn Fontaine role
- "NEW STOCK COMPANY.: The Broome Stagers to Open With "Back Fire" June 13.". The New York Times. June 6, 1932. pp. 18 Section: Amusements, Radio. Retrieved December 18, 2011.
The Broome Stagers announce the opening of their first offering "Back on Fire" at the Vanderbilt Theatre...and will have in its cast...Doris Packer
- "Doris Packer : World War II U.S. Army Enlistments U.S. Army Enlistment Record". Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- "Doris Packer (1904 - 1979) - Find A Grave Photos". Retrieved 11 November 2013.
- "The 1973 Fire, National Personnel Records Center". Retrieved 11 November 2013.