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Sunday, January 20, 2008

Suzanne Pleshette has died at 70

Suzanne Pleshette, the husky-voiced star best known for her role as Bob Newhart's sardonic wife on television's long-running "The Bob Newhart Show," has died at age 70. Pleshette, who had undegone chemotherapy for lung cancer back in 2006, died from respiratory failure on Saturday evening at her L.A. home.

Pleshette was born Jan. 31, 1937 in New York City where she began her career as a stage actress after attending the city's High School of the Performing Arts and studying at its Neighborhood Playhouse. She was often picked for roles because of her beauty and her throaty voice."When I was 4," she told an interviewer in 1994, "I was answering the phone, and (the callers) thought I was my father. So I often got quirky roles because I was never the conventional ingenue."

She met her future husband, Tom Poston, when they appeared together in the 1959 Broadway comedy "The Golden Fleecing," but didn't marry him until more than 40 years later.Although the two had a brief fling, they went on to marry others. By 2000 both were widowed and they got back together, marrying the following year."He was such a wonderful man. He had fun every day of his life," Pleshette said after Poston died in April 2007.

Her Broadway roles included replacing Anne Bancroft, in 1959's "The Miracle Worker," in New York and on the road. She starred in numerous films including "The Geisha Boy" with Jerry Lewis, "Have Gun, Will Travel," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "Playhouse 90" and "Naked City."

By the early 1960s, Pleshette attracted a teenage following with her youthful roles in such films as "Rome Adventure," "Fate Is the Hunter," "Youngblood Hawke" and "A Distant Trumpet."She married fellow teen favorite Troy Donahue, her co-star in "Rome Adventure," in 1964 but the union lasted less than a year. She was married to Texas oilman Tim Gallagher from 1968 until his death in 2000.

But perhaps her best known role was that of Emily Hartley on The Bob Newhart Show, a hit throughout its six-year run, which starred comedian Newhart as a Chicago psychiatrist surrounded by eccentric patients. Pleshette provided the voice of reason.

Four years after the show ended in 1978, Newhart went on to the equally successful "Newhart" series in which he was the proprietor of a New England inn populated by more eccentrics. When that show ended in 1990, Pleshette reprised her role — from the first show — in one of the most clever final episodes in TV history.

It had Newhart waking up in the bedroom of his "The Bob Newhart Show" home with Pleshette at his side. He went on to tell her of the crazy dream he'd just had of running an inn filled with eccentrics.

"If I'm in Timbuktu, I'll fly home to do that," Pleshette said of her reaction when Newhart told her how he was thinking of ending the show.



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1 Comments:

Blogger Stan Matuska said...

How sad. That's the third obit you posted recently. I'm feeling old. God rest her soul.

title="comment permalink">January 20, 2008 8:48 PM  

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