July 17, 1914|
Scottsboro, Alabama, U.S.
|Died||February 17, 1984
Scottsboro, Alabama, U.S.
|Cause of death||Cancer|
Lucille Benson (July 17, 1914 – February 17, 1984) was an American actress known for her roles in commercials, television, and movies in the 1970s and 1980s.
Born in Scottsboro, Alabama, on July 17, 1914, Benson was adopted by her aunt, Mrs. John Benson, after her mother died of tuberculosis. She was valedictorian and president of her Jackson County High School class at Jackson County High School. She attended Huntingdon College, in Montgomery, and later attended Northwestern's School of Drama, in Evanston, Illinois. After a short career as a teacher, she went to New York in the 1930s.
Her career started in New York in the 1930s. She appeared on Broadway in several plays including, The Doughgirls, The Day Before Spring, Happy Birthday, As The Girls Go, Hotel Paradiso, Period of Adjustment and Walking Happy. She performed at the Coconut Grove Playhouse, in Miami, appearing in the Tennessee Williams play, Orpheus Descending.
Benson's break in motion pictures occurred while performing with Donald O'Connor in the play Little Me during a three-month run in Las Vegas. She said, "While I was in Las Vegas, a former agent in Hollywood called to ask me to come up Hollywood to tryout for a Paramount film. I went to Hollywood, tried out and was cast for the part in which I played opposite Robert Redford in Little Fauss and Big Halsy."
She had a recurring role on the sitcom The Ropers as Helen's mother. Her big commercial break was Bosom Buddies, a situation comedy based on Some Like It Hot. During the show's first season (1980–1981), Benson played "Lilly Sinclair", the manager of the female only Susan B. Anthony Hotel where two young men (Tom Hanks and Peter Scolari) dress as women to take advantage of the inexpensive rent.
She may be the actress seen reciting the Lord's Prayer in the train holdup scene of the western Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969). However, the actress is uncredited,. She did work with the stars of that film in the following year: with Paul Newman in WUSA, and with Robert Redford in Little Fauss and Big Halsy.
She died on February 17, 1984, in her native Scottsboro, Alabama, aged 69, from liver cancer. She was cremated and her remains are in Cedar Hill Cemetery.
- The Fugitive Kind (1960) - Beulah Binnings
- WUSA (1970) - Second Matron
- Little Fauss and Big Halsy (1970) - 'Mom' Fauss
- Women in Chains (1972) - Billie
- Escape (1971) - Trudy
- Duel (1971) - Lady at Snakerama
- Cactus in the Snow (1971) - Mrs. Sawyer
- Delphi Bureau (1972) - Mrs. Loveless
- Slaughterhouse-Five (1972) - Billy's Mother
- Private Parts (1972) - Aunt Martha
- The Devil's Daughter (1972) - Janet Poole
- Tom Sawyer (1973) - Widder Douglas
- The Blue Knight (1973) - Elmira Gooch
- Mame (1974) - Mother Burnside
- Huckleberry Finn (1974) - Widder Douglas
- The Day the Earth Moved (1974) - Miss Virginia Porter
- Reflections of Murder (1974) - Mrs. Turner
- Betrayal (1974) - Eunice Russell
- Collision Course (1976) - Bess Truman
- Silver Streak (1976) - Rita Babtree
- The Greatest (1977) - Mrs. Fairlie
- Black Market Baby (1977) - Mrs. Krieg
- Charleston (1979) - Miss Fay
- Ebony, Ivory and Jade (1979) - Mrs. Stone
- Concrete Cowboys (1979) - Peg the Madam
- 1941 (1979) - Gas Mama (Eloise)
- Amy (1981) - Rose Metcalf
- Halloween II (1981) - Mrs. Elrod
- When Your Lover Leaves (1983) - Greta
- Moon Face (released after her death in 1984)
- The New Andy Griffith Show (1971) - Mrs. Gaddis
- Cannon (1971) - Proprietress
- Bonanza (1972) - Mrs. Melody
- Mannix (1972-1974) - Myra / Ida
- Emergency! (1973-1976) - Annie / Martha
- Police Woman (1976) - Aunt Benjamin
- The Waltons (1976) - Tilly Shanks
- Petrocelli (1974-1976) - Lucille Davis / Madge Briar / Lucille Field / Angie Crawford
- Wonder Woman (1978) - Flo
- Eight is Enough (1978)
- How the West Was Won (1978-1979) - Miss Agnes / Miss Walker
- Trapper John, M.D. (1979) - Clarissa Mae Purcell
- Little House on the Prairie (1979) - Miss Trimble
- The Ropers (1979-1980) - Mother
- The Dukes of Hazzard (1980) - Mama Coltrane
- Bosom Buddies (1980-1981) - Lilly Sinclair
- The Love Boat (1981) - Doris
- Simon & Simon (1982) - Mrs. Dorothy Bartlett
- The Wonderful World of Disney (1978-1982) - Mrs. Levelor / Grandma Hopkins
- Bring 'Em Back Alive (1982)
- Alice (1982-1983) - Grace / Lucille (final television appearance)