January 31, 2008

Suzanne Pleshette Gets Hollywood Star Posthumously

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. ― Suzanne Pleshette posthumously received the 2,355th star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame Thursday, which would have been her 71st birthday.

Bob Newhart and Marcia Wallace were among those who spoke at the late-morning ceremony in front of Frederick's of Hollywood, a site Pleshette requested. Tina Sinatra accepted the star on behalf of Pleshette, who died Jan. 19 of respiratory failure. She had been diagnosed with lung cancer.

"The thought of her with Johnny Grant really makes me feel better," Sinatra said, referring to the late honorary mayor of Hollywood who died last year. "And it was Johnny who said to me not three and a half months ago, 'Suzie doesn't have a star. We ought to do something about that.' And we were shot out of a cannon and thanks to Johnny, who was always doing something good for somebody, and I'm sure he still is, that we got this on the fast track."

Pleshette is best known for her portrayal of Newhart's wife on the 1972-78 CBS comedy "The Bob Newhart Show," a role for which she received two Emmy nominations.

"The only thing that exceeds her talent and her beauty was her bravery, because she was one of the greatest women," Newhart said.

Wallace, who also appeared in "The Bob Newhart Show," said Pleshette left a definite impression on her.

"Many people walk through your life and very few people leave footprints on your heart," she said. "She left footprints on my heart, and now we can all leave our footprints on her star. She'd love it." Comedian Arte Johnson also attended the ceremony, noting, "Suzanne Pleshette deserves
not just one star, she deserves a whole bunch of stars. She was a terrific wonderful girl."

Born Jan. 31, 1937, in New York City, Pleshette began her career on the New York stage.

She made her movie debut in the 1958 Jerry Lewis comedy "The Geisha Boy" and appeared in such films as "The Birds," "Nevada Smith," "Youngblood Hawke," "A Rage to Live" and "Fate Is the Hunter."

Pleshette also appeared with Troy Donahue -- her first husband, to whom she was married for eight months in 1964 -- in the 1962 romantic drama "Rome Adventure" and the 1964 western "A Distant Trumpet."

On Broadway in 1961, Pleshette replaced Anne Bancroft in the role of Annie Sullivan in "The Miracle Worker," opposite Patty Duke as Helen Keller.

Among her lighter screen credits are "40 Pounds of Trouble," "If It's Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium," "Support Your Local Gunfighter," "The Shaggy D.A.," "The Adventures of Bullwhip Griffin," "The Ugly Dachshund" and "Blackbeard's Ghost."

Pleshette also received Emmy nominations for a 1961 guest appearance on the NBC medical drama "Dr. Kildare" and her starring role in the 1991 made-for-television movie, "Leona Helmsley: Queen of Mean."

Pleshette had been the producers' original choice to play Catwoman on ABC's campy adaptation of "Batman" in 1966, but negotiations broke down and the role went to Julie Newmar.

After "The Bob Newhart Show" ended its run, Pleshette also starred in the short-lived sitcoms "Suzanne Pleshette Is Maggie Briggs" (1984) and "The Boys Are Back" (1994-95) and the dramas "Bridges to Cross" (1986) and "Nightingales" (1989).

More recently, she had a role on "Good Morning, Miami" (2002-03).

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