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How Each Hazel Cast Member Died

Many shows have lovable maids and nannies, including The Nanny and The Jetsons. One of the best was Hazel. It followed the daily life of Hazel Burke as she served the Baxter family.

Talented actors, many of whom went on to have long and successful careers, filled up the cast. They brought the characters to life in such a powerful way that they’re still remembered after they’ve been gone for decades.

Like and subscribe to Facts Verse for more on the cast of this beloved show. Keep watching to learn how each Hazel cast member died and what the surviving members are up to today.

Shirley Booth

Shirley Booth played the title character on Hazel. She was one of only 24 performers in the history of the entertainment industry to earn the Triple Crown of acting with 1 Academy Award, 2 Primetime Emmys, and 3 Tonys.

Shirley was born Marjory Ford in Brooklyn, New York on August 30, 1898. She grew up and attended school in Flatbush and moved to Philadelphia with her family when she was 7. She became interested in acting as soon as she saw a stage performance there and then moved again to Hartford, Connecticut, where she became a part of summer stock.

Shirley eventually went to New York City to pursue her dreams. Her father objected to her using the family name professionally, so she changed it to Shirley Booth. She found her first role on Broadway in Hell’s Bells in 1925.

She earned her first Tony from her role as Grace Fancy in the 1948 production of Goodbye, My Fancy. Her most significant stage success and 2nd Tony came from playing Lola Delaney in Come Back, Little Sheba.

Shirley Film Debut

Her film debut came in the adaptation of the show in 1952. Both versions combined earned her a Tony, Academy Award, and Golden Globe. She was also the first actress to win a Tony and Oscar for the same role.

Shirley preferred the stage to the screen. She only made four more films, including The Matchmaker in 1958 and Hot Spell in 1958.

She played Hazel on TV between 1961-1966. The show was based on the Ted Key cartoon from the Saturday Morning Post. It earned her 2 Emmys. She says she enjoyed the part and called it her “insurance policy.”

Shirley appeared in several more productions after Hazel ended before retiring to Cape Cod. They included a TV version of The Glass Menajory, a stage revival of Harvey, and the ABC series A Touch of Grace. Her final role was a voiceover part as Mrs. Claus in the 1974 Christmas special The Year Without a Santa Claus.

Shirley Booth broke her hip in 1991 after her health had already begun to decline. She died on October 16, 1992, at the age of 94. She’s buried in the Mount Hebron Cemetery in Montclair, New Jersey. Her star on the Walk of Fame and entry into the American Theater Hall of Fame in November of 1979 commemorate her achievements.

Lynn Borden

Lynn Borden was born in Detroit and raised in Tuscon, Arizona. She even won Miss Arizona in 1957 and was a runner-up for Miss America. After her pageant career ended, she decided to move on to acting.

Lynn played Barbara Baxter in the final season of Hazel. She also appeared in films such as Frogs and Dirty Man Crazy Lady. Her other TV appearances included The Dick Van Dyke Show, My Three Sons, Get Smart, MacMillan & Wife, Fantasy Island, and her final onscreen role, CSI: NY.

Lynn Borden passed away at the age of 77 after suffering from a long-time illness. She’s survived by her husband Roger Brunelle and brother Steve Fyre.

Maudie Prickett

Maudie Marie Doyle was born in Portland, Oregon on October 25, 1914. She performed in over 300 stage productions, film, and TV shows over a 4-decade career.

Maudie appeared 36 times on Hazel as Rosie, Hazel’s frenemy and neighbor. Her other notable roles include films such as Harvey in 1950 and North by Northwest in 1959. She also made guest appearances on shows such as Sally, Dennis the Mennis, Room for One More, Get Smart, and The Andy Griffith Show. Her final roles were on episodes of Dirty Sally and McMillan & Wife.

Maudie was married three times in her life. Her first was husband Charles Filmore Pricket II. They stayed together from 1901-1954 and had 2 children; Charles Filmore Prickett II and Charlie Laughbarn. In 1961, she married Dr. Eakle W. Cartwright, but he died the following year. Her final marriage was to Cyril Bernand Cooper, the mayor of Pasadena.

Maudie Prickett died of uremic poisoning on April 14, 1976. She’s buried in Mountain View Cemetery in Altadena, California.

Whitney Blake

Whitney Blake was born Nancy Ann Whitney in Eagle Rock, Los Angeles on February 20, 1926. Her family traveled across the country, and she went to 16 different schools. Her love for acting began when she joined theater groups while attending Pasadena City College.

Whitney joined productions at the Pasadena Playhouse and was discovered by agent Sid Gold in an amateur production of The Women. She later joined several syndicated TV series, but her first official appearance was on NBC Matinee Theater. Her first film role was in My Gun is Quick.

Whitney appeared in several episodes of early crime series such as Perry Mason and Maverik. She also joined the casts of Westerns, including The Texan, Pony Express, and Gunsmoke.

Whitney joined the Hazel cast as George Baxter’s wife Dorothy in 1961. She was replaced by Lynn Borden in the show’s final season and went on to guest star on more series such as The Legend of Jesse James, Branded, and The Andy Griffith Show.

Whitney Blake Got Married

Whitney married Tom Baxter in 1944 and had 3 children with him; Richard, Brian, and Meredith. In 1957, she married Jack X Fields, but they divorced in 1967. She eventually became a talk-show host and co-created the show One Day at a Time with her husband Allan Mannings. They remained married from August 24, 1968 until her death.

Whitney revealed she had esophageal cancer on her 76 birthday and believed she would beat the disease. She died 7 months later at the age of 76 on September 28, 2002.

Like and subscribe to Facts Verse for more on the casts of your favorite sitcoms. Keep watching to learn how the rest of the Hazel cast died and how the ones who survived continued and ended their career once the show went off the air.

Don Defore

Don Defore was born on August 25, 1913. He was 1 of 7 children and became interested in acting after seeing his mother direct plays at the local church. Don graduated from Washington High School and attended the University of Iowa where he studied law and played basketball, track, and baseball.

He later moved on to acting and won a scholarship to Pasadena Community Playhouse.

Don and 4 other students wrote a play called Where Do We Go from Here. He played in it and then made his stage debut in 1938 when Oscar Hammerstein II took his work to Broadway where it stayed for 4 weeks. He then became recognized as a legitimate actor and played in The Male Animal for 8 months on Broadway and 8 months on tour.

Don’s film debut came in the 1936 film Reunion, but he appeared in several other films throughout the 40s and was voted the 4th most promising star of tomorrow.  He also succeeded on the radio but then moved to television. He was part of The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet then joined the Hazel cast from 1961-1965 and earned a Primetime Emmy nomination for the role.

Don Defore died of cardiac arrest on December 22, 1993. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and he wrote a memoir called Hollywood DeFore and After.

Bobby Buntrock

Bobby Buntrock was born in Denver Colorado on August 4, 1952. His family moved to Whittier, California, and all their neighbors insisted on getting him into acting. They had pictures taken to help begin his career. One got into the hands of agent Marcella Bell who took him on as a client.

Bobby made his acting debut in Wagon Train in 1959. He then went on to get other roles such as cameos in Mr. Edd and The Donna Reed Show. Bobby joined the Hazel cast in 1961 and left in the 4th season. He retired from acting after 2 guest appearances on The Virginian in 1967.

Bobby Buntrock died after a tragic car accident at the age of 21. The South Dakota Flood of 1971 left a hole in the bridge he was intending to cross, and his car slid off the road and fell into the water.

The Surviving Members of the Hazel Cast

Ann Julian was a notable child star. Walt Disney gave her a stage name when she starred in his 1961 film Babes in Toyland. And also She later appeared in other projects such as Gypsy in 1961 and the TV series It’s a Living from 1980-1986. She was diagnosed with breast cancer at 35 but overcame it. She’s 71 years old today and released a memoir titled Consider Your A** Kissed.

Ray Fulmer was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 17, 1933. He played Steve Baxter in the final season of Hazel from 1965-1966. Ray made his debut as Patrick Dennis in 1956 in the play Auntie Mame. He later went on to earn roles such as Lee Gantry in the soap opera Guiding Light and Martin Nell Dillard in Somerset but retired in 1992 after appearing on The New WKRP. 

Julia Benjamin was born on February 21, 1957. She began her career at the age of 8 in 1965 playing Suzie Baxter in Hazel. She only starred in 5 movies and TV shows after that. The films included Mr. and Mrs. Bo Jo Jones in 1971, The Jordan Chance in 1978. The shows included My Three Sons, The Rockford Files, and her final role in Riptide.

Do you have a favorite member of the Hazel cast? Let us know in the comments. Like and subscribe to Facts Verse for more on the history of the best classic sitcoms.

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