Shirley Mitchell

Shirley Mitchell (November 4, 1919 – November 11, 2013) was an American radio, film, and television actress.

Shirley Mitchell
Mitchell in October 2008
Born(1919-11-04)November 4, 1919
DiedNovember 11, 2013(2013-11-11) (aged 94)
Resting placeWestwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, Los Angeles, California
Alma materUniversity of Toledo
University of Michigan
OccupationRadio, film, and television actress
Height5 ft 3 in (160 cm)
Spouse(s)Julian Frieden (1946–1974; divorced; 2 children)
Jay Livingston (1992-2001; his death)


Early life

Mitchell was born in Toledo, Ohio,[1] the daughter of Sam Mitchell and his wife.[2]


Following a move to Chicago, Mitchell appeared in the network broadcast of The First Nighter Program and played small parts in various soap operas, including The Story of Mary Marlin and The Road of Life. After she moved to Los Angeles, she played opposite Joan Davis and Jack Haley in The Sealtest Village Store. She also starred as Louella in The Life of Riley and joined the cast of Fibber McGee and Molly as Alice Darling in 1943. She also played in The Charlotte Greenwood Show.[3]

Her most prominent radio role was that of the charismatic Southern belle Leila Ransom on The Great Gildersleeve beginning in September 1942. In the third season of I Love Lucy, from 1953 to 1954, she appeared in three episodes[4] as Marion Strong, Lucy Ricardo's friend with the funny laugh. She was the last surviving recurring adult cast member following the death of Doris Singleton in 2012.

In the late 1950s she appeared twice on The Jack Benny Program as Mildred Meyerhauser, Jack's brash, blonde bombshell date with a thick Bronx accent. Her rough and tumble character created a calamity in fancy places to the chagrin of guest stars Jimmy Stewart and his wife Gloria Hatrick McLean.

In 1962, she played Janet Colton in 13 episodes of the sitcom Pete and Gladys, starring Harry Morgan and Cara Williams, with Peter Leeds cast as her husband George Colton. Between 1963 and 1965, she made five appearances on Perry Mason, including the 1965 episode "The Case of the Carefree Coronary", when she played Marilyn David, the widow of a murder victim. In 1964, she played the role of murder victim Elizabeth Bain, although her character was only heard, not seen, in "The Case of the Woeful Widower."

From 1965 to 1967, she appeared as neighbor Marge Thornton on Please Don't Eat the Daisies.[5] She appeared in several TV shows of the 1960s (like Petticoat Junction as Cousin Mae in 1968) and did voice-over work in subsequent decades. Mitchell voiced Laurie Holliday on Hanna-Barbera's short-lived series The Roman Holidays in 1972. She also appeared in an episode of the crime drama The Feather and Father Gang in 1977.[6]

In the late 1970s, Mitchell appeared with Don Porter in an episode of Three's Company.

Personal life

She became engaged to Dr. Julian Frieden by early October 1946, holding her engagement shower at the home of singer Dinah Shore.[2] They married on November 26, 1946.[7]

By August 1955, they had two children, a girl (Brooke) and a boy (Scott).[8][1] Mitchell and Frieden divorced in August 1974. In 1992, she married songwriter Jay Livingston, and the two remained married until his death in 2001.[1]

Mitchell died of heart failure on November 11, 2013, seven days after her 94th birthday.[4]

Partial filmography


  1. Dagan, Carmel (November 13, 2013). "Shirley Mitchell, Who Appeared in 'I Love Lucy,' Dies at 94". Variety. Retrieved 2013-11-13.
  2. "Shirley Mitchell Honored". Toledo Blade. October 3, 1946. p. 18. Retrieved 2013-11-13.
  3. Barnes, Mike (November 13, 2013). "'I Love Lucy' Actress Shirley Mitchell Dies at 94". The Hollywood Reporter.
  4. "Shirley Mitchell: She Just Acts the Nosy Part". The Press-Courier/Press-Courier TV Week. Oxnard, California. January 30, 1966. p. 3. Retrieved 2013-11-13.
  5. The Feather and Father Gang
  6. "Shirley Mitchell: CBS' 'Leave It to Joan'". The Sherbrooke Telegram. Sherbrooke, Quebec. February 2, 1950. p. 3. Retrieved 2013-11-13.
  7. Woodbury, Mitch. "Mitch Woodbury Reports". Toledo Blade. Retrieved 2013-11-13. It's a boy for Dr. and Mrs. Julian H. Frieden of Hollywood. Mrs. Frieden is Toledo's Shirley Mitchell, well known television and radio actress. She already is the proud mother of a daughter.
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