Carole Cook, a Lucille Ball protégée who was also known for her role in Sixteen Candles and The Incredible Mr. Limpet, died on Wednesday at 98.
Her husband Tom Troupe told the Hollywood Reporter the actress died from heart failure just three days shy of her 99th birthday.
Born January 14, 1924, in Abilene, Texas, Cook’s career took off in the 1960s after she came to Hollywood at the behest of Lucille Ball.
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The budding actress was making a number of small-time appearances in a bid to get her career off the ground when she received a call from Ball, who had read a review of her performance in Annie Get Your Gun.
Ball then asked her to come to California to audition for her Desilu Workshop company of young, aspiring actors.
Following this, Cook starred in a 1959 episode of the comedienne’s Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse. Ball would later convince her to change her first name from Mildred to Carole in honour of the actress she most admired, Carole Lombard.
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Cook also worked alongside Ball across 18 episodes of The Lucy Show from 1963-68 – often playing Lucy Carmichael’s friend Thelma Green. She also worked across five installments of CBS’ Here’s Lucy from 1969-74.
The actress even wore her hair red, as did her mentor.
Cook would later go on to star in two of her most memorable roles, the first as the wife of Don Knotts’ character in The Incredible Mr. Limpet (1964) and later as Molly Ringwald’s eccentric Grandmother Helen in John Hughes’ classic, Sixteen Candles (1984).
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Cook’s résumé also includes episodes on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis, That Girl, McMillan & Wife, Chico and the Man, Magnum, P.I., Dynasty, Hart to Hart and Grey’s Anatomy and such films as The Gauntlet (1977), American Gigolo (1980), Summer Lovers (1982) and Home on the Range (2004).
In 2018, Cook also sang and shared memories in her one-woman show at the intimate Feinstein’s/54 Below club in New York.
“At my age, playing [here] is not a career move,” she said. “I have jewellery bigger than this room,” the actress was quoted as saying.
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