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R.I.P. 'Mama Carlson' Carol Bruce


Jaimoe
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Even the part-time characters on WKRP in Cincinnati (one of the best sitcoms ever, even in it's current syndicated 'butchered' form) like Herb's wife, Mrs. Carlson, Arthur Carlson Jr., Del Murdoch etc... were well-written, fully developed and had important roles to play in the series as a whole. Mama Carlson and her trusted butler Hirsch (played by great character actor Ian Wolfe) were fantastic in every episode and scene they were in. Well, Mama Carlson had a great career and she had a good life run. Hell, she almost bedded Andy Travis. R.I.P. Carol Bruce. Check out this great scene with a drunk Mama Carlson calling Les "insane": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RzjIIs9xirw

From The New York Times

Carol Bruce, a promising stage actress and singer from the 1940s who became best known late in her long career as Mama Carlson, the ruthless station owner on the television comedy “WKRP in Cincinnati,†died on Oct. 9 in Woodland Hills, Calif. She was 87.

The cause was chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, according to an announcement by the Motion Picture and Television Fund.

In her recurring role on “WKRP in Cincinnati,†Ms. Bruce was the tough, business-minded owner of a radio station managed by her son, Arthur Carlson, played by Gordon Jump. She played the role, originated by Sylvia Sidney in the pilot episode, from 1979 until the show ended its run in 1982.

Ms. Bruce made guest appearances on more than 25 television shows, including “The Golden Girls,†“Doogie Howser, M.D.,†“Diff’rent Strokes,†“Knots Landing,†“The Twilight Zone†and “Party of Five.â€

She first earned public attention and critical acclaim in 1940 on Broadway in “Louisiana Purchase,†a satirical Irving Berlin musical about politics in the South. She left the show early when she signed a contract with Universal Studios.

In 1941 and 1942 she made three movies for Universal: “This Woman Is Mine,†“Behind the Eight Ball†and “Keep ’Em Flying,†an Abbott and Costello comedy about the Army Air Corps. Later in her career she appeared in “American Gigolo†(1980) and “Planes, Trains and Automobiles†(1987).

She also continued to work occasionally on Broadway, appearing in a revival of “Show Boat†in 1946, “Along Fifth Avenue†in 1949, and “Henry, Sweet Henry†and “Do I Hear a Waltz?†in the 1960s.

Ms. Bruce was born Shirley Levy on Nov. 15, 1919, in Great Neck, N.Y. She worked as a saleswoman and model at Namm’s department store in Brooklyn, and then started her performing career as a nightclub singer in the ’30s. She eventually performed at Café Pierre, the Waldorf-Astoria, the Plaza and other rooms.

She is survived by her sister, Marilyn Berk; a daughter, Julie Nathanson-Coryell; two grandsons; and two great-grandsons.

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