Carole Cook is a veteran Hollywood actress who possesses comedic timing like none other. Her wit has always been sharp as a whip. Back in her heyday, her humor and elegance caught the eye of Lucille Ball who took her in as a protegee of sorts. Over the years she would make dozens of appearances on shows like I love Lucy, Here’s Lucy, Magnum PI, Dynasty, and Grey’s Anatomy. She’s also graced the silver screen in films like Sixteen Candles and The Incredibles.
Ms. Cook has maintained an incredible stage presence over the decades starring in celebrated productions of 42nd Street, Steel Magnolias, and Bernard Slade’s Romantic Comedy. She has also been an avid supporter of AIDS organizations and charities since the early 80s.
Cook is 96 years old but she’s still making headlines – but not always for the most flattering reasons. She’s even drawn the ire of the Secret Service in recent years.
Okay, that’s probably got your attention. We’ll touch on that in a second so just bear with me. This video is going to take an in-depth look at the contentious nonagenarian’s life while highlighting some of the most eyebrow-raising chapters of her lengthy career.
We might as cut to the chase though before we lose you. So what the heck is up with Carole Cook’s encounter with the secret service? What could an ancient feeble actress like her do that could possibly threaten the POTUS?
Cook’s Call For Assassination
Everybody knows that Donald Trump is a polarizing figure. You either love the guy or hate his guts. There’s very little middle ground there. But even if you absolutely can’t stand the 45th president of the United States for some reason, it’s unwise to publicly advocate for his killing. In fact, calling it unwise or in poor taste doesn’t even cut it.
We might have freedom of speech granted to us by the First Amendment but that freedom doesn’t cover threats of death or violence to the President. Such rhetoric could potentially land someone in some seriously hot water.
Such was the case back in 2018 when Carole Cook made some rather outlandish comments while leaving Craig’s restaurant in West Hollywood. A photographer from TMZ approached Cook and asked her what her thoughts were in regard to an exchange that happened at a performance of Frozen The Broadway Musical where actor Timothy Hughes ripped a Trump 2020 flag out of the hands of an audience member while the cast was giving their encore.
Her audacious reply was provocative enough to make national headlines and draw the close watchful eye of governmental agencies.
In reference to Trump, she said very nonchalantly ‘Wheres John Wilkes Booth when you need him?”.
After a brief pause, she snarkily jeered “you’re probably going to ask me who John Wilkes Booth is…Well, he killed presidents.’
Someone off-camera then asked her if she meant that someone should assassinate President Trump and she shrugged the question off by saying “why not?”.
Now, it’s pretty clear that she was being hyperbolic. It’s unlikely that she actually intended for her words to be heard and acted upon, but even if you have an intense disdain for a political incumbent it’s never appropriate to suggest their senseless killing – even in jest.
There’s a lot of crazies out there. Someone could hear a celebrity make a comment like that and actually be motivated to attempt such a feat.
That’s exactly why the Secret Service was alerted to her comments and was compelled to investigate. The agency launched a formal inquiry into the matter In September of 2018 and they made it clear that they wanted to sit down and have a little chat with the then 94-year-old actress.
It’s unclear what became of the situation after that but we’re guessing that Cook had a very uncomfortable conversation with a couple of men in black and probably hastily retracted her comments.
Who Is Carole Cook Anyways
Some of our younger viewers are probably scratching their heads and wondering who the heck this old batty lady is that’s talking about assassinating presidents.
Well, she’s actually had quite a prestigious career and at one point had an untarnished reputation.
She was a contemporary of Lucille Ball and she often guest-starred on her shows and a whole swaff of other popular programs. She was also a legend in the realm of musical theater, making a name for herself as the star of the Australian production of Hello, Dolly as Dolly Levi back in 1965.
She also played Auntie Mame in both the musical and dramatic productions of the Off-Broadway play.
She’s been a longtime supporter of LGBTQ rights and alongside her husband Tom Troupe, and she’s raised millions for AIDS and HIV-related causes and organizations.
Cook has been a yearly participant in the Help is on the Way benefit concerts and is an outspoken supporter for the Richmond-Ermet Aid Foundation.
Cook’s Incredible Career
She was born Mildred Frances Cook in 1924 in Abilene, Texas.
Carol has had countless career highlights that have kept her relevant for more than half a century. She helped create the role of Maggie Jones in 42nd Street and her Hello Dolly and Mame tours helped her gain an international fan base.
She’s also an accomplished film star. In 1963 she starred in Palm Springs Weekend and in the mid 80’s she appeared in the neo-noir Paul Schrader film American Gigolo and the cult classic John Hughes film Sixteen Candles.
It’s hard to find a classic TV show from the 1970s or 1980s that Cook didn’t get a chance to guest-star on. Some of her best-known guest-roles include parts in Dynasty, Murder She Wrote, The A-Team, The Love Boat, Knight Rider, Kojak, and Charlie’s Angels….just to name a few.
Cook has always been a story-teller. Back in the day, she was a frequent guest on talk shows like The Johnny Carson Show and The Merv Griffin Show. Cook especially appreciated Griffin who she recalls as being easy to talk to and never tried to draw attention to himself. He always made his guests look good and feel welcome.
Cook received theater training at Baylor University and graduated with a master’s degree in Greek drama.
Her first film role was alongside Don Knotts in the comedy film The Incredible Mr. Limpet.
It was after signing on with Warner Brothers and doing that film that her career opened up for her. Before long, she was a household name.
By the way, if you’re enjoying this video so far, make sure you give it a like and subscribe to our channel, and make sure you keep watching to see what Carole Cook is up to today. Will she ever retire? Probably not.
She’s been going strong ever since the early days when a certain redhead helped springboard her career.
Lucy Helped Make That Happen
While Cook was working on a stage production of Kismet with the John Kenley Players in Warren, Ohio she got a call from Lucille Ball. She was shocked to hear from her, but Ball wanted her to hop on a flight and get to LA as soon as possible to audition for her.
At first, she didn’t know what to say. She was flustered, to say the least. But she hopped on the plane and flew out to Hollywood as soon as she could.
It was actually Ball that recommended that she change her name from Mildred to Carole in honor of the late great comedy film actress Carole Lombard.
Cook arrived In Los Angeles at a difficult time for Lucille Ball as she was going through a divorce with Desi Arnaz, but even though it was a rough period for her, Cook recalls that Ball was always very professional. She was inspired by Ball’s ability to focus on the tasks at hand. She would rehearse constantly and took her work very seriously.
Getting to meet Hollywood legends that she grew up obsessing over was a major culture shock for her. When she was a young girl, her mother used to drive hundreds of miles to big cities like Dallas and Houston to see the stars perform on stage but now she was performing alongside some of those very same people.
Hello Dolly! And Beyond
Cook was the first actress to play Dolly Levi after Carol Channing. She absolutely wowed Australian audiences night after night. She performed in that musical from 1965 to 1966. Musicals were in her blood. She had previously starred in The Matchmaker, which is the dramatic play that Hello Dolly was based upon, she already had a familiarity with the characters, so it was a perfect match when she was invited to join the cast.
She was just wrapping up her work with Desilu and Warner Brothers at the time when she got the call from Director Gower Champion and writer Michael Steward. Warner Brothers was sad to see her go and tried to get her to stick around citing contractual obligations, but Cook knew what she wanted and went for it.
It was while working in musical theater that she became acquainted with the awful effects of AIDS that started taking their toll in the early 80s. She started seeing people she knew very well and worked beside get sick. She also saw the shockwaves that the disease had on families and communities. That was when she knew that she had found a lifelong cause to fight for.
Cook co-created the benefit concert S.T.A.G.E to help raise funds for Aids patients and home-bound individuals that were struggling to afford food. The first concert was held in 1984 and it has been an annual event ever since.
You would think that Cook would think about retiring seeing as she is in her late 90s, but she still travels to do charity and benefit shows across the country. In 2014, she appeared in an episode of the TNT series Major Crimes and in 2016 she starred in three episodes of the web series Break A Hip. Most recently she played Erika Ericson in the musical film Still Waiting in the Wings.
Well, we’ve come to the end of our overview of Carole Cook’s life and career. There’s no denying the fact that she an accomplished actress but she better stop making those threats about killing the president. That’s no bueno.
Although maybe the Secret Service and the media all overreacted to her comment. After all, what’s a little old lady in her mid-90s actually going to do to endanger the most protected individual on the planet?
Do you think it was appropriate for the Secret Service to formally investigate her comments or do you think they were wasting time and tax dollars on nothing? Let us know what you think in the comments section below
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