Madge Blake stood out in small roles

08/20/2012 12:00 AM

08/19/2012 11:37 PM

In her day, Madge Blake had a recognizable face and voice.

She was Grandpa McCoy’s love interest on “The Real McCoys” and Aunt Harriet Cooper on “Batman.” She was chosen to play Aunt Bee on “The Andy Griffith Show,” but stepped aside because she was already in another contract with the “Leave It to Beaver” show, where she played Margaret Mondello.

She was born Madge Cummings on May 31, 1899, in Kinsley.

Her father was a Methodist minister and although she wanted to act at an early age, he forbid it. Never mind the fact that there was already another actor in the family. Her uncle was Milburn Stone, who became most famous for his role as Doc in the television show “Gunsmoke”

During World War II, she lived in Utah, where she and her husband worked on testing equipment used on the Manhattan Project.

After the war, Blake attended the Pasadena Playhouse, where she studied acting. It wasn’t until the 1950s, when she was in her 50s, that she began a professional acting career.

While her mainly had bit parts, she created memorable characters.

She appeared in numerous movies including “Adam’s Rib,” “An American in Paris,” “Singin’ in the Rain” and “Brigadoon.”

Her most unforgettable roles came from some of the best-known sitcoms of the 1950s and 1960s. She was the babysitter in the pilot episode of “Dennis the Menace.” She played the president of the Jack Benny Fan Club in “The Jack Benny Program.” And appeared as Miss Comstock, a school official on “The Addams Family.”

According to the Internet Movie Data Base, Blake said her role as Aunt Harriet in “Batman” was added to give Batman and Robin depth of character and so they wouldn’t have to spend all their scenes in hero costumes.

Blake died in 1969. She was buried in the Grandview Memorial Park in Glendale, Calif.

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