Shirley Mitchell Dead at 94

Shirley Mitchell, the comic actress who played Marion Strong, Lucy Ricardo's friend with the cackling laugh on I LOVE LUCY, has died at age 94.

Mitchell, who was believed to be the last surviving adult castmember from the legendary CBS sitcom, died November 11 of heart failure at her condominium in Westwood, her sister-in-law, the Oscar-nominated Sunset Blvd. actress Nancy Olson, told The Hollywood Reporter.

Mitchell joined the cast of Lucille Ball's I LOVE LUCY for the 1953-54 season and appeared in three episodes. In one, “Lucy Tells the Truth,” Marion gets frank opinions about her new hat and her laugh during the girls’ weekly bridge game. (Lucy has bet Fred and Ethel Mertz $100 that she can go 24 hours without telling a lie.)

“Marion, stop cackling. I’ve been waiting 10 years for you to lay that egg!” Lucy says.

The Marion character, which was originated by Margie Liszt in the second season, set Lucy and Ricky (Desi Arnaz) up on their first date.

Mitchell was very much an in-demand TV actress in the 1950s and ’60s. She played John Forsythe’s secretary Kitty Deveraux on several episodes of BACHELOR FATHER; neighbor Marge Thornton on PLEASE DON'T EAT THE DAISIES; Mae Belle Jennings, Kate Bradley’s (Bea Benaderet) cousin, on PETTICOAT JUNCTION; and Opal Clampett on THE BEVERLY HILLBILLIES.

Her TV resume also includes DALLAS, THE RED SKELTON HOUR, PETE AND GLADYS, THE JACK BENNY PROGRAM, MAKE ROOM FOR DADDY, THREE'S COMPANY, THE ODD COUPLE and THE FRESH PRINCE OF BEL-AIR.

In 1976 she played Sylvia Chase on CBS daytime soap opera THE YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS.

Born November 4, 1919, in Toledo, Ohio, Mitchell was a radio star on such shows as THE GREAT GILDERSLEEVE and FIBBER, MCGEE & MOLLY, and she became good friends with Ball during the redhead's radio days on MY FAVORITE HUSBAND. She came to Los Angeles in the 1940s and transitioned to television on such shows as I MARRIED JOAN.

Mitchell also appeared on the big screen in such films as Jamboree, Desk Set, Big Business and The War of the Roses.

In addition to Olson, other survivors include her children, Scott and Brooke.

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