A celebrated Broadway star of long standing, Shirley Booth graced two TV series and a handful of films with her warm, if often acerbic, presence. Leaving high school to pursue acting, Booth appeared i...
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|The Year without a Santa Claus||Voice||Mrs. Claus||N/A||6|
|A Touch of Grace (1971-1972)||Actor||Grace Sherwood/Grace Simpson||N/A||1|
|About Mrs. Leslie (1954)||Actor||Mrs Vivien Leslie||1954||1|
|The Matchmaker (1958)||Actor||Dolly Levi||1958||1|
|The Smugglers (1967-1968)||Actor||Mrs Hudson||N/A||1|
|Hot Spell (1958)||Actor||Alma Duval||1958||1|
|The Glass Menagerie (1965-1966)||Actor||Amanda||N/A||1|
|Hazel (1960-1965)||Actor||Hazel Burke; maid||N/A||1|
|Come Back Little Sheba (1953)||Actor||Lola Delaney||1953||1|
|The Year Without a Santa Claus (1973-1974)||Voice||of Mrs Santa Claus||N/A||1000006|
|Main Street to Broadway (1953)||Actor||Herself||1953||1|
|The Year Without a Santa Claus (1973-1974)||Narrator||Narration||N/A||1000016|
|Playhouse 90 (1955-1959)||Actor||Performer||N/A||1|
|Played the title role of Grace Sherwood, an elderly widow who finds romance, on the ABC sitcom, "A Touch of Grace"|
|Dropped out of high school against her father's wishes to pursue an acting career at age 14 (approximate date)|
|Worked in New Haven in stock for over a year after her stage debut|
|Played the title role of Hazel Burke on the popular TV sitcom, "Hazel" (on NBC 1961-1965, CBS 1965-1966), based on the Saturday Evening Post cartoon character created by Ted Key|
|Made last feature films, "Hot Spell" and "The Matchmaker"|
|Made film debut in adaptation of stage success, "Come Back, Little Sheba"; won Best Actress Oscar|
|Played the role of Miss Duffy on the popular radio program "Duffy's Tavern" in the early 1940s|
|Originated the role of Lola Delaney opposite Sidney Blackmer in the Broadway production of William Inge's "Come Back, Little Sheba"|
|First role as professional actress, in the thriller "The Cat and the Canary" in Hartford, Connecticut|
|Gained popular and critical attention performing in skits written by Dorothy Parker and staged at the Barbizon-Plaza Hotel in New York; was paid with a room for the night and breakfast|
|Played the leading role of Amanda Wingfield in a CBS Playhouse presentation of Tennessee Williams's "The Glass Menagerie"|
|Breakthrough role as the ingenue lead of a gangster's moll in George Abbott's long-running comedy play "Three Men on a Horse"|
|Made Broadway debut in "Hell's Bells"|
|Performed in her only original made-for-TV movie, "The Smugglers"; film, airing on Christmas Eve, had the dubious distinction of being interrupted by news of Apollo 8's approach to the moon, with the end result that the film was never aired in its entiret|
Booth's fortunes improved considerably after she originated the role of intrepid news photographer Liz Imbrie in the Broadway smash "The Philadelphia Story" (1939), starring Katharine Hepburn. Other notable Broadway roles followed: a wisecracking writer in "My Sister Eileen" (1940); an anti-fascist teacher in "Tomorrow the World" (1943); a vivacious gossip columnist in "Hollywood Pinafore" (1945); and, in a Tony-winning performance, the sophisticated secretary to a US congresswoman in "Goodbye, My Fancy" (1949).
The most important role of Booth's career came in 1950 with the Broadway production of William Inge's "Come Back, Little Sheba", in which she played a slovenly, gabby housewife wistfully hanging onto her illusions (embodied in her runaway dog, Sheba) and inadvertently driving her husband to drink. She recreated the role (to Oscar-winning effect) in Daniel Mann's film version and acted in several other features, notably "The Matchmaker" (1958), based on the Thornton Wilder play which later became "Hello, Dolly!".
Although Hollywood briefly tried to make a character star out of the dumpy, likably plain-Jane Booth, "About Mrs. Leslie" (1954), a watchable soap opera, didn't quite prove the item for the task at hand. In Booth's later years TV proved the ideal medium for her combination of ready recognizability and sincere, forthright sentiment. For many TV viewers, Booth is best remembered as "Hazel" (NBC 1961-65; CBS 1965-66), the housekeeper extraordinaire forever warning "Mr. B" (Don DeFore) about the dangers of domestic life and undercutting his authority at every opportunity.
|William H Baker Jr||Husband||married from September 24, 1943 until his 1951 death from heart disease|
|Jean Coe||Sister||survived her|
|Albert Ford||Father||Booth was estranged from her father after her parents separation|
|Virginia Ford||Mother||died in 1933|
|Ed Gardner||Husband||married in 1929; divorced in 1942; played Archie of the famous "Duffy's Tavern" radio program, a role he recreated for the 1945 film of the same name|
|"[Booth's acting] radiates all through a large theater and draws an audience close together. The stage begins to glow the moment she steps on it and the audience melts, like a crowd of children whose imagination has been captured by someone they trust. No one else in the theater has made native decency so human, so triumphant and so captivating." --The New York Times drama critic Brooks Atkinson, reviewing Booth's performance in the 1954 Broadway musical, "By the Beautiful Sea"|
|"The mailman, the grocer, and even school kids know, it's worth their while to stop and watch that smile when Hazel says Hello. ..." --From the opening credits for the sitcom "Hazel"|
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