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* Bernice Harris; Teacher, Actress

Information on Valley-area deaths is provided by cooperating mortuaries.

Bernice Harris, who appeared on stage and film and later became a teacher, has died at her Northridge residence. She was 49.

Mrs. Harris died Feb. 16 of cancer, her husband, Marvin Harris, said.

Born Bernice Pekatz in Brooklyn, N.Y., she came to California as a child and graduated from Santa Fe Springs High School.

While attending Cal State Long Beach, where she graduated Phi Beta Kappa in 1964, she appeared in various productions, including the lead female role in Eugene O’Neill’s “A Moon for the Misbegotten.”

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Using the stage name of Bea Bradley, she appeared in films and television shows, including “The Red Skelton Show” and “Bonanza.”

She also performed in community theater at the North Valley Jewish Community Center in Granada Hills and Temple Ahavat Shalom in Northridge.

In 1967, she began teaching elementary school in East Los Angeles, becoming one of the first teachers to participate in the School Readiness Language Development Program for preschool children and their parents. Mrs. Harris came to Montague Street School in Pacoima in 1985, where she continued teaching with the program until last fall.

She is survived by her husband of 23 years; son Craig Harris of Northridge; sister Mimi Schoenberg of San Diego; two nephews and one niece.

A memorial service was held Friday. Arrangements were handled by Kapin Mortuary in San Fernando. Donations can be made in Mrs. Harris’ name to The Wellness Community in Santa Monica.


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