Hillary Brooke

Hillary Brooke (born Beatrice Sofia Mathilda Peterson;[1] September 8, 1914 – May 25, 1999) was an American film actress. Though American-born, she began cultivating a sophisticated English accent, after spending a year living in England in the mid 30s, to get more film parts early in her career. It eventually became second nature to her, and she was cast as an Englishwoman in most of her films.

Hillary Brooke
Beatrice Sofia Mathilda Peterson

(1914-09-08)September 8, 1914
DiedMay 25, 1999(1999-05-25) (aged 84)
Other namesHillary Brook
Alma materColumbia University
Years active1937–1960
Alan Shute
(m. 1936; div. 1940)

Jack Voglin
(m. 1941; div. 1948)

Raymond A. Klune
(m. 1960; died 1988)


Brooke, a 5′6″ blonde from the Astoria neighborhood of New York City, had started work as a model while attending Columbia University.[2]

Brooke was a regular on several television series of the early 1950s. She played Roberta Townsend, the glamorous love interest of Margie's father Vern Albright, on the 1952–1955 Gale Storm TV series My Little Margie. On The Abbott and Costello Show, produced in the early 1950s and syndicated for decades afterwards, Brooke played the role of a straitlaced, classy tenant of the rooming house where the two main characters lived. She was treated with reverence by the duo and was not a target of pranks and slapstick. The love interest of Lou Costello, she always addressed him as "Louis." As with the other main characters, her character's name was her real name. She also appeared in Africa Screams (1949) and Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1952) with the comedy team.

Brooke has started her career in films. Having cultivated a sophisticated English accent, after spending a year living in England in the mid 30s, she earned a number of roles playing an Englishwoman.[2] She co-starred in three Sherlock Holmes movies with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (1942), Sherlock Holmes Faces Death (1943) and The Woman in Green (1945).

Her other film credits include Jane Eyre (1943), The Enchanted Cottage (1945), Lucky Losers (1950) with The Bowery Boys, the Alfred Hitchcock thriller The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), the 3-D film The Maze (1953), and the sci-fi B-movie classic Invaders from Mars (1953).

On September 28, 1957, she played Doris Cole in the second episode of Perry Mason, titled "The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece". Brooke also played Angela Randall in I Love Lucy's "The Fox Hunt", which aired February 6, 1956. She retired from television in 1960 following guest appearances on Richard Diamond, Private Detective as Laura Renault and in Michael Shayne as Greta Morgan.

Marriages and personal life

Brooke married assistant director Jack Voglin in 1941, and the couple had one child together, Donald, before divorcing in 1948.[3] Brooke was married to Raymond A. Klune, an executive at MGM, from 1960 until his death on September 24, 1988. Through Klune she had two stepchildren, Carol V. Klune and Donald C. Klune.[4][5]

Brooke was a Democrat who supported Adlai Stevenson's campaign in the 1952 presidential election.[6]


On May 25, 1999, Brooke died from a blood clot in the lung at a hospital in Fallbrook, California.[7] She was cremated with her ashes scattered at sea.[8] Her brother, actor Arthur Peterson, died in 1996;[7] For her contribution to the television industry, Hillary Brooke has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6307 Hollywood Boulevard.

Partial filmography


  1. Room, Adrian (2012). Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins, 5th ed. McFarland. p. 77. ISBN 9780786457632. Retrieved 6 March 2018.
  2. Bergan, Ronald (1999-06-10). "Hillary Brooke". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019-11-08.
  3. "Hillary Brooke - The Private Life and Times of Hillary Brooke. Hillary Brooke Pictures". www.glamourgirlsofthesilverscreen.com. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  4. "Hillary Brooke, 84; Actress in Movies". 8 June 1999. Retrieved 26 February 2018 via NYTimes.com.
  5. "Obituary: Hillary Brooke". 3 June 1999. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  6. Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, page 33, Ideal Publishers
  7. "Hillary Brooke, 84; Actress in Movies". The New York Times. 1999-06-08. Retrieved 2008-02-29.
  8. Wilson, Scott (19 August 2016). "Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed". McFarland via Google Books.
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