Mary LaRoche

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Mary LaRoche
Run Silent, Run Deep (1958) trailer 2.jpg
LaRoche with Clark Gable, 1958
Born(1920-07-20)July 20, 1920
DiedFebruary 9, 1999(1999-02-09) (aged 78)
Alma materEastman School of Music
Spouse(s)John Hudson
Douglas Rodgers
Sherwood Price

Mary LaRoche (July 20, 1920 – February 9, 1999) was an American actress and singer, best known for her roles in Gidget, Bye Bye Birdie and The Twilight Zone. Her name is often seen in print as Mary La Roche.

Early years[edit]

LaRoche grew up in Rochester, New York,[citation needed] and she received training in piano and voice at the Eastman School of Music in Rochester. By age 10, she was acting on radio programs.[1] She gained additional acting experience in Rochester with the Community Players[2] and the Paddy Hill Players.[3]

In 1939, LaRoche was a sectional winner in the Gateway to Hollywood competition.[3]


Eli Wallach, Mary LaRoche, Cheryl Callaway and Robert Keith in The Lineup, 1958
Mary LaRoche, Arthur O'Connell and Sandra Dee in Gidget, 1959
Ann-Margret, Mary LaRoche and Paul Lynde in Bye Bye Birdie, 1963

LaRoche began singing and acting on and off Broadway in 1938. Over the next seven years she appeared in a number of Broadway musical comedies, including the 1942 operetta The Merry Widow[4] by Franz Lehár.

LaRoche performed in various feature films during the 1950s and 1960s, including in the role of a singer in Catskills Honeymoon in 1950; Operation Mad Ball in 1957; Clark Gable's love interest in 1958s Run Silent Run Deep; The Lineup, also released in 1958; Gidget in 1959, in which she portrays the mother of Sandra Dee's title character; The Ladies Man in 1961; Bye Bye Birdie in 1963, playing the part of Ann Margaret's mother; and The Swinger in 1966.

LaRoche was very active in television, usually in guest appearances in single episodes of a television series. She portrayed the title character's mother in Karen (1964).[5] She acted on television as early as 1946, when she was part of a two-person skit that was broadcast on WBKB-TV in Chicago.[6]

Between 1951 and 1977 she appeared in 37 different television series, including five appearances on Perry Mason, two episodes of The Twilight Zone and an episode of The Streets of San Francisco in 1976. One of LaRoche's more complex and dramatic characterizations on television is in a one-hour episode of Gunsmoke in 1963, one titled "Quint-Cident". In that episode of the classic Western, in a central role opposite Burt Reynolds, she portrays a beleaguered and mentally exhausted widow trying to survive alone on an isolated farmstead in Kansas during the late 1870s.

Personal life[edit]

LaRoche was married to actor John Hudson[7] and to actor-producer Sherwood Price.[5]


On Broadway[edit]






  • 1958 to 1963: Perry Mason (the original series)
    • Season 1, episode 31 "The Case of the Fiery Fingers" (1958), as Vicky Braxton
    • Season 2, episode 18 "The Case of the Jaded Joker" (1959), as Lisa Hiller
    • Season 3, episode 1 "The Case of the Spurious Sister" (1959), as Grace Norwood
    • Season 5, episode 6 "The Case of the Meddling Medium" (1961), as Helen Garden
    • Season 6, episode 14 "The Case of the Bluffing Blast" (1963), as Donella Lambert
  • 1959: Mickey Spillane's Mike Hammer (the original series)
    • Season 4, episode 14 Tales of Wells Fargo "Long Odds" (1959), as Lorna Terret
    • Season 2, episode 37 "Slab Happy", as Julie Gates
  • 1960 to 1963: The Twilight Zone
  • 1962: Checkmate
    • Season 2, episode 17 "Death Beyond Recall", as Martha Baker
  • 1962: Wagon Train
    • Season 5, episode 31 "The Jud Steele Story", as Ursula Steele
  • 1962 to 1963: Dr. Kildare
    • Season 1, episode 15 "My Brother, the Doctor" (1962), as Judy
    • Season 3, episode 12 "Charlie Wade Makes Lots of Shade" (1963), as Sarah Oliver
  • 1963: The Alfred Hitchcock Hour
    • Season 2, episode 1 "A Home Away from Home", as Ruth
  • 1963: Gunsmoke in "Police of the plain" (Gunsmoke or Marshal Dillon)
    • Season 8, episode 33 "Quint-Cident", as Willa Devlin
    • Season 9, episode 4 "Tobe", as Hanna
  • 1964: The Virginian
    • Season 2, episode 20 "First to Thine Own Self", as Alma Reese
  • 1964: The F.B.I.
    • Season 2, episode 5 "The Scourge", as Lyn Towner
  • 1967 to 1970: The Wonderful World of Disney
    • Season 14, The Wonderful World of Disney (anthology series), episodes 11 and 12 "A Boy Called Nuthin", Parts I & II (1967), as Carrie Brackney
    • Season 17, episodes 4 and 5 "The Wacky Zoo of Morgan City", Parts I & II (1970) by Marvin J. Chomsky, as Nancy Collins
  • 1976: The Streets of San Francisco
    • Season 5, episode 4 "The Drop", as Alice Horvath

Television films[edit]


  1. ^ "South Pacific's Vibrant Nellie Likes 'Washing Tha Man Out of Hair'". The Courier-Journal. Kentucky, Louisville. August 8, 1955. p. 8. Retrieved September 25, 2018 – via open access
  2. ^ "Community Players Get Results in Baffling Mystery Piece". Democrat and Chronicle. New York, Rochester. December 16, 1940. p. 11. Retrieved September 25, 2018 – via open access
  3. ^ a b "Paddy Hill Group To Give Play". Democrat and Chronicle. New York, Rochester. October 26, 1939. p. 14. Retrieved September 25, 2018 – via open access
  4. ^ "Mary La Roche". Internet Broadway Database. The Broadway League. Archived from the original on September 25, 2018. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  5. ^ a b Kleiner, Dick (October 12, 1964). "Hollywood Gossip". Public Opinion. Pennsylvania, Chambersburg. p. 6. Retrieved September 25, 2018 – via open access
  6. ^ "Television Reviews: Balaban & Katz" (PDF). Billboard. March 30, 1946. p. 18. Retrieved September 25, 2018.
  7. ^ Winchell, Walter (March 7, 1947). "Walter Winchell on Broadway". Des Moines Tribune. Iowa, Des Moines. p. 10. Retrieved September 25, 2018 – via open access
  8. ^ Dietz 2009, p. 165.
  9. ^ Solomon, Les (October 18, 2011). "South Pacific: Return of one of the Greats". Aussie Theater .com. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  10. ^ Presnell and McGee 2008, pp. 68–69.
  11. ^ "Seventies and Eighties Made for TV Movies". Super Seventies. Retrieved September 14, 2018.
  • Dietz, Dan The Off Broadway musical, 1910–2007 Jefferson, NC: McFarland, (2009).
  • Presnell, Don and Marty McGee A critical history of television's The twilight zone, 1959–1964 Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland, (2008).

External links[edit]