Barbara Morrison, the dominating dowager and foil for Red Skelton on the comedian's old TV show and an actress whose repertoire ranged from the classics to comedy, has died.
Iggie Wolfington, an acting colleague and longtime friend, said this week she was 84 when she died Thursday at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Woodland Hills. Until her hospitalization she had lived in the Hollywood Hills.
Wolfington called Miss Morrison "one of Hollywood's last grandes dames" and likened her career to that of Margaret Dumont, the imposing feminine presence in many of the Marx Brothers films.
In addition to her appearances with Skelton, she proved an elegant nemesis for Lucille Ball on several episodes of "I Love Lucy."
She was born in Weston Super-mare, England, and graduated from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.
From her arrival in the United States in 1944 (when she was in a Chicago production of "Dream Girl") to her appearances in the 1960s on TV in "Batman," "Hogan's Heroes," "The Beverly Hillbillies" and "Green Acres," she played a variety of roles.
They ranged from the brothel madam in the classic 1953 film "From Here to Eternity" to one of the proper Ascot types in 1964's "My Fair Lady."
Her other films included "A Man Called Peter," "Something of Value," "Bedknobs and Broomsticks," "Airport," "The List of Adrian Messenger" and "Papillon."
She also appeared on many of the classic productions from TV's golden age, including several "Playhouse 90" programs, and was a frequent guest on "The Hallmark Hall of Fame" and "Studio One."
A memorial service is scheduled for noon Saturday in the Rose Garden of Westwood Mortuary.