Mary Treen, the veteran character actress who portrayed a series of plain working girls and wise-cracking spinsters in a film career that extended over nearly four decades, died Thursday.
She was 82 and died at her Newport Beach home of cancer, said Suzanne Catlin, the daughter of Marge Klein. Klein and Miss Treen had been vaudeville partners and lifelong friends and had lived together since Klein's husband died several years ago.
Born Mary Louise Summers in St. Louis and raised in California, Miss Treen in more than 100 pictures played shop girls, waitresses and cashiers--the ordinary but funny women who normally were a constant delight but also had to watch sadly as the hero walked into the sunset without them.
She began in show business as a dancer with the old Fanchon and Marco revues before breaking into films in 1934 in "Happiness Ahead" and "Babbitt."
From then until 1975 (her last role was a bit part in "The Strongest Man in the World") she was the consummate poor but honest working girl in "Shipmates Forever," "Kitty Foyle," "Hit Parade of 1943," "Casanova Brown," "It's a Wonderful Life" (as Cousin Tilly), "The Sad Sack," "Who's Minding the Store?" and dozens more.
She married during World War II but was later divorced and spent the last years of her life entertaining at senior citizen shows in her neighborhood.