Sara Berner

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Sara Berner
Born Lillian Herdan
(1912-01-12)January 12, 1912
Albany, New York, U.S.
Died December 19, 1969(1969-12-19) (aged 57)
Van Nuys, California, U.S.
Occupation Actress/Voice actress
Years active 1936–1969

Sara Berner (January 12, 1912 – December 19, 1969) was an American film, television and radio actress. She was a series regular on The Jack Benny Program. Her supporting roles included two for Alfred Hitchcock; the upstairs neighbor in the 1954 feature Rear Window, as well as her final film role as the uncredited voice of a telephone operator in the 1959 film North by Northwest. Berner also provided many voices for at least 100 of the 1940s Looney Tunes and Tom and Jerry shorts.

Early life[edit]

Born Lillian Herdan in Albany, New York, the first of the five children of Sam Herdan and Sarah Herdan (née Berner),[citation needed] she was a drama student at University of Tulsa for two years.[1]


Described as having "an extensive knowledge of dialects,"[2] Berner was also active as a radio and cartoon voice talent, working primarily with the Warner Bros. animation department as the female counterpart to Warner Bros. voice actor Mel Blanc. Unlike Blanc, who had a voice credit negotiated into his contract, Berner never received on-screen credit for her work. Examples of her work include the voice of Mama Buzzard in The Bashful Buzzard and in Bugs Bunny Gets the Boid, the singing voice of one-time character A. Flea in the 1943 short, An Itch in Time and the female voices in 1946's Book Revue. In the 1943 propaganda short Tokyo Woes, she voiced the titular character, modeled after Japanese radio announcer "Tokyo Rose".

She worked for the Walter Lantz studios as the title character in a number of Andy Panda shorts, as well as voicing Chilly Willy in his first film appearance. For MGM she voiced the mostly silent Jerry Mouse a few times, most notably in the fantasy dance sequence with Gene Kelly in Anchors Aweigh. She also voiced Toots in her secondary film appearance in The Zoot Cat and Nancy in Baby Puss and Toots in her first film appearance in The Mouse Comes to Dinner.


A newspaper article in 1950 described Berner as "one of radio's most versatile actresses."[2] Her roles on radio programs included waitress Dreamboat Mulvany on Arthur's Place,[3] Mrs. Horowitz on Life with Luigi, the Italian housekeeper on The Jimmy Durante Show,[4] and ditsy CBS telephone operator, Mabel Flapsaddle on The Jack Benny Program. Bea Benaderet played another ditzy CBS telephone operator, Gertrude Gearshift on the same program. They were at the same board and had conversations, often at the expense of Jack Benny – who was often impatiently waiting on the other end of the line for one of them to complete his call. Her other radio work included roles on Arthur's Place (1947),[5] Burns and Allen and The Baby Snooks Show. Berner had her own program, Sara's Private Caper, ("a satire on private detective stories") on NBC beginning June 15, 1950.[2]

Other entertainment[edit]

In 1937, Berner was one of a 16-member "all-girl unit" that toured with Major Edward Bowes.[1]


Berner married Milton Rosner, a theatrical agent, August 11, 1951, and they had one daughter, Eugenie. They were divorced May 2, 1958.[6]


Berner died on December 19, 1969 at aged 57. She was buried at Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery in Los Angeles.



  1. ^ a b "Bowes Unit Will Come Next Week". The Oregon Statesman. February 26, 1937. p. 2. Retrieved April 30, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read
  2. ^ a b c "Radio-Television". Altoona Tribune. June 27, 1950. p. 19. Retrieved April 30, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read
  3. ^ "Dream Girl". Williamsburg Journal-Tribune. September 11, 1947. p. 7. Retrieved April 30, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read
  4. ^ Elman, Terry (May 26, 1950). "What's Cooking?". The Wisconsin Jewish Chronicle. p. 10. Retrieved April 30, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read
  5. ^ Dunning, John. (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. P.47.
  6. ^ "Awards Divorce to Sara Berner, Actress on Radio". Valley News. May 4, 1958. p. 15. Retrieved April 30, 2015 – via  open access publication – free to read

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