Home Fire Kills ‘Laugh-In’ Star
Actress Teresa Graves--who appeared regularly on “Rowan and Martin’s Laugh-In” and went on to star in her own television series, “Get Christie Love!” died early Thursday after a fire swept through the back of her home in the Hyde Park district, fire officials said.
Graves, 54, was found unconscious in a bedroom where the fire apparently broke out. Doctors at Daniel Freeman Hospital in Inglewood were unable to revive her.
Fire investigators said the blaze, which broke out about 12:30 a.m., was apparently caused by a faulty space heater in the bedroom, which had been added by enclosing a porch on the house in the 3400 block of West 78th Place. A smoke detector in the front of the house apparently went off, but failed to awaken the actress, officials said.
Graves, who was born in Houston, started her entertainment career as a singer with the Doodletown Pipers in the 1960s.
Her 1969 acting debut came in the popular comedy show “Laugh-In,” hosted by Dan Rowan and Dick Martin. The show, consisting largely of a disjointed series of skits, launched several actors on successful careers, including Goldie Hawn, Arte Johnson and Graves.
Graves appeared on several Bob Hope television specials in 1970 and 1971 and had a featured role in “The Funny Side,” a television series in 1971 and 1972. Her biggest role was that of the title character in “Get Christie Love!” which aired in 1974 and 1975.
She appeared in several movies in the mid-1970s, including “That Man Bolt,” “Black Eye” and “Old Dracula.” Her final show business appearance was in a Bob Hope special in 1982.
Hollywood publications indicate that she abandoned her acting career in 1983 to concentrate on her involvement with the Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Officials said she leaves her mother, who had lived with her but was hospitalized recently after a stroke.