Mabel Albertson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Mabel Albertson
Mabel Albertson.jpg
Albertson on an episode of The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, 1968
Mabel Ida Albertson

(1901-07-24)July 24, 1901
DiedSeptember 28, 1982(1982-09-28) (aged 81)
EducationNew England School of Speech and Expression
Years active1928–1975
TelevisionBewitched (1964–1971)
Spouse(s)Harold Austin Ripley
(m. 1925; div. 1936)
Ken Englund
(m. 1937; sep. 1950)
Children2, including George Englund

Mabel Ida Albertson (July 24, 1901 – September 28, 1982) was an American actress of television, stage, radio and film who portrayed Phyllis Stephens in the TV sitcom Bewitched.

Early years[edit]

Mabel Ida Albertson was born on July 24, 1901, in Haverhill, Massachusetts, to Flora (Craft) and Leopold Albertson, who were Russian-born Jewish immigrants.[1][2] Her younger brother was actor Jack Albertson. Albertson's mother, a stock actress, supported the family by working in a shoe factory.[1]

Albertson graduated from the New England School of Speech and Expression.[3]

Albertson traced her show business career back to age 13, when she was paid $5 per performance to play piano behind palm trees for a reader. She later moved to California and became involved with the Pasadena Playhouse.[4]

She "moved directly into professional stage work in stock, vaudeville, and night clubs, appearing with Jimmy Durante."[3]


Albertson portrayed Phyllis Stephens, Darrin's neurotic, interfering mother, on the television sitcom Bewitched,[5]:97 who invariably ended her stays at the Stephens' home by saying to her husband, "Frank, take me home. I have a sick headache." During 1972-1973, she played Mabel, the mother-in-law of Paul Lynde on The Paul Lynde Show. She appeared in at least one episode of the courtroom drama series Perry Mason: as Carrie Wilson in the Season 6, 1962 episode titled "The Case of the Hateful Hero".[6] Albertson also guest-starred as the mother of Marilyn Munster's would-be suitor in the first broadcast episode of The Munsters, "Munster Masquerade".

Albertson played the mother of Barbara Whiting Smith and Margaret Whiting in Those Whiting Girls.[7] She also played the dean of a women's college in an episode of The Tab Hunter Show, Susannah's mother in Accidental Family,[5] Alice's mother in Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice,[5]:119 Donald Hollinger's mother on That Girl,[5]:1065 Irene Brady in The Tom Ewell Show,[5]:1092 Howard Sprague's mother on The Andy Griffith Show, Miss Ramsey on Hazel, Mrs. White on The Lucy Show episode "Lucy and the Missing Stamp", Eileen Ruby, Harry Ruby's wife, in Make Room For Daddy episode "Danny Goes On USO Tour", Dick Van Dyke's mother on The New Dick Van Dyke Show, and Ethel Kendricks on the Mary Tyler Moore Show episode "Anyone Who Hates Kids and Dogs", Gertrude Mills on The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show. Rawhide Season 2 Episode 24 as Kalla, Gypsy Queen. In the 1963 episode of Gunsmoke, "Kate Heller", she played the title character. In 1966 she played Madam Adella in the Bonanza episode "A Dollar's Worth of Trouble".


Albertson was heard on Dress Rehearsal, Joe Rines' Dress Rehearsal, and the Phil Baker Show.[8] She was also a writer for radio programs.[9]


A memorable early film role for Albertson was as a proper banker's wife who is repulsed by the bucolic title characters in Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki (1955). She was also seen in She's Back on Broadway, So This Is Love, About Mrs. Leslie, Forever, Darling, The Long, Hot Summer, Don't Give Up the Ship,[3] On a Clear Day You Can See Forever[9] and as Mrs. Van Hoskins, a wealthy woman whose jewels are stolen, in the screwball comedy film What's Up, Doc? (1972).


Albertson's Broadway credits include The Egg (1962) and Xmas in Las Vegas (1965).[10]


According to her former daughter-in-law, Cloris Leachman, Mabel Albertson died on September 28, 1982, of Alzheimer's disease at St. John's Hospital, after suffering seven years of poor health[11] in Santa Monica, California at age 81. Her ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean.


Year Title Role Notes
1928 Gang War Reporter in the Prologue
1939 Mutiny on the Blackhawk The Widow
1952 About Face Mrs. Carter Uncredited
1952 My Pal Gus Mrs. Frisbee Uncredited
1953 She's Back on Broadway Velma Trumbull
1953 So This Is Love Mary Garden
1954 About Mrs. Leslie Mrs. Sims
1954 Black Widow Sylvia Uncredited
1955 Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki Teresa Andrews
1955 The Cobweb Regina Mitchell-Smyth
1956 Ransom! Mrs. Partridge
1956 Forever, Darling Society Reporter
1957 Four Girls in Town Mrs. Conway
1957 Man Afraid Maggie
1958 The Female Animal Irma Jones
1958 The Long, Hot Summer Elizabeth Stewart
1958 Home Before Dark Inez Winthrop
1959 The Hangman Amy Hopkins
1959 Don't Give Up the Ship Mrs. Trabert
1959 The Gazebo Miss Chandler
1960 All the Fine Young Cannibals Mrs. McDowall
1961 All in a Night's Work Mrs. Kingsley Sr.
1962 Period of Adjustment Mrs. Alice McGill
1966 A Fine Madness Chairwoman
1967 Barefoot in the Park Harriet
1970 On a Clear Day You Can See Forever Mrs. Hatch
1972 What's Up, Doc? Mrs. Van Hoskins


  1. ^ a b "Jack Albertson's Kinship to Cloris Leachman". Archived from the original on October 8, 2016. Retrieved January 23, 2012.
  2. ^ Berkvist, Robert (January 7, 1973). "Jack Spreads A Little Sunshine - Jack Spreads Sunshine". The New York Times. Retrieved January 23, 2012.
  3. ^ a b c "Mabel Albertson scrapbook: 1933-1939". The New York Public Library Archives & Manuscripts. New York Public Library. Retrieved February 18, 2016.
  4. ^ Leadabrand, Russ (December 17, 1967). "Mabel Albertson Enjoys Roles In Variety of Stage Plays". California, Pasadena. Independent Star-News. p. 43. Retrieved February 16, 2016 – via open access
  5. ^ a b c d e Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7. P. 6.
  6. ^ "The Case of the Hateful Hero" details,; accessed January 14, 2016.
  7. ^ Bird, Bill (July 1, 1957). "A Wedding a Day on TV". California, Pasadena. Pasadena Independent. p. 26. Retrieved February 16, 2016 – via open access
  8. ^ Sies, Luther F. (2014). Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920-1960, 2nd Edition, Volume 1. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-5149-4. Pp. 203, 350, 520.
  9. ^ a b "Veteran Actress Is Actually A Softy". Texas, Lubbock. Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. February 22, 1970. p. 84. Retrieved February 16, 2016 – via open access
  10. ^ "Mabel Albertson". Playbill Vault. Retrieved February 17, 2016.
  11. ^ "Mabel Albertson is dead at 81". California, Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz Sentinel. September 30, 1982. p. 10. Retrieved February 16, 2016 – via open access

External links[edit]