Hillary Brooke

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Hillary Brooke
Brooke in The Woman in Green (1945)
Beatrice Sofia Mathilda Peterson

(1914-09-08)September 8, 1914
DiedMay 25, 1999(1999-05-25) (aged 84)
Other namesHillary Brook
Alma materColumbia University
Years active1937–1960
Alan Shute
(m. 1936; div. 1940)
Jack Voglin
(m. 1941; div. 1948)
Raymond A. Klune
(m. 1960; died 1988)

Hillary Brooke (born Beatrice Sofia Mathilda Peterson;[1] September 8, 1914 – May 25, 1999) was an American film actress.


A 5′6″ blonde from the Astoria neighborhood of New York City's borough of Queens, Brooke, who was of Swedish ancestry,[2] started work as a model while attending Columbia University.[2] She spent a year in the United Kingdom, mastering an RP accent that she used in several of her films.[2] She frequently played English women in Hollywood films, and also had such a role in her only British-made film, The House Across the Lake.

With Paul Cavanagh in The Woman in Green

Brooke began her acting career in movies, where she changed her name to Hillary Brooke because, as she put it, she thought her own name was “so long and so heavy".[3] She co-starred in three Sherlock Holmes films with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (1942), Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943) and The Woman in Green (1945).

She was a regular on several television series of the early 1950s, playing Roberta Townsend, the glamorous love interest of Margie's father Vern Albright on the 1952–1955 TV series My Little Margie. On The Abbott and Costello Show, produced in the early 1950s and syndicated for many years afterward, Brooke played the role of a straitlaced, classy tenant of the rooming house where the two main characters lived. She was treated with reverence by the duo and was not a target of pranks and slapstick. The love interest of Lou Costello, she always addressed him as "Louis". As with the other main characters, her character's name was her real name. She also appeared in Africa Screams (1949) and Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1952) with the comedy team.

Brooke’s other movie credits include Jane Eyre (1943), The Enchanted Cottage (1945), Lucky Losers (1950) with The Bowery Boys, the Alfred Hitchcock thriller The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), the 3-D film The Maze (1953), and William Cameron Menzies classic Invaders from Mars(1953).

On September 28, 1957, she played Doris Cole in the second episode of Perry Mason, titled "The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece". Brooke also played Angela Randall in I Love Lucy's "The Fox Hunt", which aired February 6, 1956. She retired from television in 1960 following guest appearances on Richard Diamond, Private Detective as Laura Renault and in Michael Shayne as Greta Morgan.

Personal life[edit]

Brooke married Alan Shute in 1936, divorcing in 1940. Brooke then married assistant director Jack Voglin in 1941, and the couple had one child together, Donald, before divorcing in 1948.[4] Brooke was married to Raymond A. Klune, an executive at MGM, from 1960 until his death on September 24, 1988. Through Klune she had two stepchildren, Carol V. Klune and Donald C. Klune.[5][6]

Brooke was a Democrat who supported Adlai Stevenson's campaign in the 1952 presidential election.[7]

On May 25, 1999, Brooke died from a blood clot in the lung at a hospital in Bonsall, California.[8] She was cremated with her ashes scattered at sea.[9] Her brother, actor Arthur Peterson Jr., died in 1996;[8] For her contribution to the television industry, Hillary Brooke has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6307 Hollywood Boulevard.


She refused to play dumb blondes.
"Vacuity will never substitute for a glint of intelligence," she remarked. "However, anyone, man or woman, who is ostentatiously erudite, is lacking in something else or else is just a crashing bore."

"I never thought I was a great actress. Maybe I would have been better if I'd worked harder at it. But I really enjoyed my career and the wonderful people I worked with."[10]

Partial filmography[edit]


  1. ^ Room, Adrian (2012). Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins, 5th ed. McFarland. p. 77. ISBN 9780786457632. Retrieved March 6, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c Bergan, Ronald (June 10, 1999). "Hillary Brooke". The Guardian. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  3. ^ Hoey, Michael A. Sherlock Holmes & the Fabulous Faces - The Universal Pictures Repertory Company BearManor Media (31 August 2011)
  4. ^ "Hillary Brooke - The Private Life and Times of Hillary Brooke. Hillary Brooke Pictures". www.glamourgirlsofthesilverscreen.com. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  5. ^ "Hillary Brooke, 84; Actress in Movies". The New York Times. June 8, 1999. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  6. ^ "Obituary: Hillary Brooke". Independent.co.uk. June 3, 1999. Retrieved February 26, 2018.
  7. ^ Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, page 33, Ideal Publishers
  8. ^ a b "Hillary Brooke, 84; Actress in Movies". The New York Times. June 8, 1999. Retrieved February 29, 2008.
  9. ^ Wilson, Scott (August 19, 2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. ISBN 9781476625997 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ Bergan, Ronald (June 10, 1999). "Hillary Brooke". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved February 15, 2023.

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