Bea Benaderet


  1. Vivian Vance, I Love Lucy, TV, 1951-1957.   Lucy and Desi’s first choice to play the Mertzes  were Bea  and Gale Gordon.  Neither one was available.  Bea was a radio  star, working with Lucille Ball, Orson  Welles, Jack Benny and  (the reason she could not be Ethel Mertz) in The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, 1950-1957). She was also the first voice of  The Flintstones’  Betty Rubble, 1960-1966.  Vance worked with Ball from  1951-1977 on various series and tele-films, although she was  never happy: Ethel  Mertz was too frumpy and co-star  William Frawley too alcoholic  – and she was too young  for him, 39 to his 64.  When he died in 1966, she yelled: “Champagne for everyone!” 
  2. Irene Ryan, The Beverly Hillbillies, TV, 1962-1971.     Bea was one of producer Paul Henning’s favorite character players. So when he created what took off as a huge hit TV series, he immediately wanted her for Granny Daisy Moses. Then, he thought again. No, no, no, she was, too busty for a grandmother! He then respun Cousin Pearl Bodine towards her strengths. during 1962-1967 – to thank her for pointing out Irene to him at the auditions. “There’s your Granny!”

 Birth year: 1906Death year: 1968Other name: Casting Calls:  2