Imogene Coca

Actor, Comedian, Dancer
This short, wiry, pliable, zany, and beloved revue comedienne and singer is best known for her years as the female regular on "Your Show of Shows" and for her seemingly unstoppable touring in stage performances ... Read more »
Born: 11/18/1908 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

Filmography

Actor (30)

Garfield and Friends 1988 - 1995 (TV Show)

Voice

The Second Annual Comedy Hall of Fame 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

Comic Relief VI 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

More of the Best of the Hollywood Palace 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Actor

Buy and Cell 1989 (Movie)

(Actor)

The 2nd Annual American Comedy Awards 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Actor

Papa Was a Preacher 1987 (Movie)

(Actor)

The 38th Annual Emmy Awards 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

Alice in Wonderland 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Actor

Hollywood Stars' Screen Tests 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Actor

National Lampoon's Vacation 1983 (Movie)

Aunt Edna (Actor)

Red Skelton's Christmas Dinner 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)

Actor

Broadway Plays Washington! 1981 - 1982 (TV Show)

Actor

Nothing Lasts Forever 1981 (Movie)

Daisy Schackman (Actor)

Getting There 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Actor

Rabbit Test 1978 (Movie)

(Actor)

Your Show of Shows 1976 - 1977 (TV Show)

Actor

The Dick Cavett Show 1974 - 1975 (TV Show)

Actor

The Brady Bunch 1969 - 1974 (TV Show)

Actor

10 From Your Show of Shows 1972 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Bob Hope Show (09/13/71) 1971 - 1972 (TV Show)

Actor

The Bob Hope Show (10/05/70) 1970 - 1971 (TV Show)

Actor

It's About Time 1966 - 1967 (TV Show)

Actor

Under the Yum Yum Tree 1962 (Movie)

Dorkus (Actor)

Ruggles of Red Gap 1956 - 1957 (TV Show)

Actor

Your Show of Shows 1949 - 1954 (TV Show)

Actor

Ruggles of Red Gap (Movie)

Effie Floud (Actor)

Ruggles of Red Gap (Movie)

Effie Floud (Performance)

Biography

This short, wiry, pliable, zany, and beloved revue comedienne and singer is best known for her years as the female regular on "Your Show of Shows" and for her seemingly unstoppable touring in stage performances throughout the US well into her eighties. Imogene Coca was the daughter of performers and was performing herself in vaudeville from an early age. She made her Broadway debut as a chorus girl in "When You're Smiling" in 1925 when she was 17, and in 1926, she was across the river in Brooklyn performing at Werba's in "Bubbling Over". For the next three decades, Coca appeared in one revue after another, several stage musical comedies and performed her own act at such Manhattan cabarets as The Rainbow Room (first in 1937), The Silver Slipper, The Ruban Blew, and Cafe Society Uptown. It was, therefore, almost natural that when TV began to emerge as a popular art form, a singer-comedienne like Coca would be drawn to it.

Indeed, Coca made her TV debut in 1948 in a short-lived ABC variety show called "Buzzy Wuzzy". The next year, she was hired for the "Admiral Broadway Revue" (NBC and Dumont), in whose cast was a revue artist and comedian named Sid Caesar. The next year, Max Liebman teamed Caesar and Coca in "Your Show of Shows" (NBC) which became the TV sketch comedy show against which all further shows would find themselves judged. When Caesar decided he wanted to change the cast in 1954, Coca was slotted into her own comedy-variety series which tried to blend sitcom elements, but failed. By 1958, she was back with Caesar, but the audience had moved on. In the 60s, Coca tried more conventional sitcoms, first as "Grindl" (NBC, 1963-64), a temporary worker going from home-to-home, and as a cave woman transported to modern times in "It's About Time" (CBS, 1966-67). Both shows flopped, but she continued to make occasional guest appearances on other sitcoms and, more frequently, on the variety specials of other stars, such as Bob Hope, Jackie Gleason, and Carol Burnett. In 1967, Coca, Caesar and former "Show of Shows" regulars Carl Reiner and Howard Morris teamed again for an Emmy-winning special. Coca also portrayed "Maw" in the CBS TV-movie reunion of "The Beverly Hillbillies" (1981) and was Cook in the 1985 CBS miniseries "Alice in Wonderland".

Her film appearances were far more sporadic, beginning with the comic short, "Bashful Ballerina" (1937). Coca appeared as herself in "Promises, Promises" and offered comic support to Jack Lemmon in "Under the Yum Yum Tree" (both 1963). More recently, she was daffy Aunt Edna in "National Lampoon's Vacation" (1983).

Since the early 60s, Coca has trouped across America in stage revues and productions of such hit musicals like "Once Upon a Mattress" and "Bells Are Ringing" and plays like Murray Schisgal's "Luv" and Neil Simon's "The Prisoner of Second Avenue". She returned to Broadway in 1978 in a major supporting role in the Cy Coleman-Betty Comden-Adolph Green musical "On the Twentieth Century", which earned her a Tony nomination. She later appeared in the national tour headlined by Rock Hudson. Coca also teamed with Caesar for revues in 1961, 1977, and 1991.

Relationships

Sadie Brady

Mother

Robert Burton

Husband
Married Jan. 7, 1935 until his death June 1955

Joe Coca

Father

King Donovan Actor

Husband
Married October 1960 until his death June 1987

Milestones

1991

Appeared in "Together Again", a revue with Sid Caesar, in Los Angeles

1981

Appeared as Maw in "Return of the Beverly Hillbillies" (CBS)

1967

Reunited with Sid Caesar, Carl Reiner, Howard Morris in CBS special

1967

Hosted "The Hollywood Palace"

1963

Film return, "Promises, Promises" and "Under the Yum Yum Tree"

1958

Was a regular on "Sid Caesar Invites You"

1950

Starred with Caesar in "Your Show of Shows"

1949

Teamed with Sid Caesar for first time in "Admiral Broadway Revue" (Dumont & NBC)

1948

TV debut in the variety series "Buzzy Wuzzy"

1937

Film debut in the short "Bashful Ballerina"

1926

Appeared in the revue "Bubbling Over" in Brooklyn, NY

1925

New York debut as chorus girl, "When You Smile"

Returned to Broadway in the featured role of Letitia Primrose in "On the Twentieth Century"

Starred in "The Imogene Coca Show"

Star of sitcom "Grindl"

Performed as a dancer in vaudeville

Returned to series TV as a regular in "It's About Time"

Did voices for "Garfield" animated series

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