Early TV icon Gloria Henry has died.
The wholesome blonde began her career as a contract player at Columbia studios, appearing in Sport of Kings (1947), Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back (1947), Rancho Notorious (1952) and other sports-themed films, westerns and thrillers.
In the ’50s she mostly appeared on television, playing Michelle Malone on the detective series The Files of Jeffrey Jones (1952) and appearing in the first episode of Perry Mason (1957).
In 1959, she joined the cast of Dennis the Menace. In the days when series that lasted only a year or two still made a lasting impact, Dennis the Menace enjoyed four seasons, airing 146 episodes — and Henry was in every one, along with her series hubby Herbert Anderson (1917-1994) and the titular tyke himself, Jay North (b. 1951).
Post-Dennis, Henry’s career was hampered by typecasting, but she did manage a variety of TV guest spots, including on the “Bad Marsha” episode of Mr. Belvedere (1990), on which she and Rose Marie played against type as prisoners:
Her final TV work was on a 1992 episode of Sisters, and had her final film appearance in 2005’s Her Minor Thing.
She did a guest stint on an episode of Parks and Recreation in 2012 that wound up being cut from the final, aired episode. Which makes me sad. Cutting an 87 year old woman. DAMN YOU, HEARTLESS HOLLYWOOD.
Anyway, her son Adam Ellwood had this to say on Facebook:
“It is with great sadness to let [all of] my dear and amazing mother’s fans know that she passed peacefully… in her home in Los Angeles,”
“Please raise a glass and a toast to our beautiful mother Gloria Henry for a life well lived,” he continued.
She died surrounded by her son Jeff Ellwood, her daughter Erin Ellwood and her hospice-care nurse.
Rest in Power, Gloria Henry. You deserve it. Ninety-eight is a good run.