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Subject: Archive: Mary Livingstone, June 30, 1983


Author:
Actress, wife of Jack Benny
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Date Posted: Sunday, June 30, 12:41:42pm


MARY LIVINGSTONE, RADIO ACTRESS


JULY 1, 1983


Mary Livingstone, the widow of Jack Benny, who for decades on radio and television served as her husband's comedic foil, died after a short illness yesterday at her home in Holmby Hills near Los Angeles. She was 77 years old.

Because of her stage name, Miss Livingstone seemed to be single, despite nearly 50 years of marriage to the taciturn comedian who was famous for his alleged stinginess and bad violin playing.

In the years after Mr. Benny's death in 1974, Miss Livingstone wrote remembrances of him for magazines. In 1978, with her brother Hilliard Marks (a long-time writer and producer for Mr. Benny) and Marcia Borie, Miss Livingstone wrote an affectionate biography about a man who was almost the opposite of his stage character. 'One Long-Stemmed Rose'

''Every day since Jack has gone the florist had delivered one longstemmed red rose to my home,'' she wrote in a magazine article. ''I learned Jack actually had included a provision for the flowers in his will. One red rose to be delivered to me every day for the rest of my life.''





Mary Livingstone Benny was born Sadie Marks in Seattle, but later had her name legally changed. According to a 1942 publicity handout, Miss Livingstone was 12 years old when she first met Jack Benny, who was calling on her oldest sister.





Several years later, she met Mr. Benny again when he visited Los Angeles where she worked. Two weeks of dates were followed by two years of separation. But when they met for a third time, in 1927 in Chicago, they decided to marry despite Miss Livingstone's distaste for the road life associated with vaudeville. Several years later they adopted a daughter, Joan. Stepped Into the Role

Soon after they were married, the young woman who played opposite Mr. Benny became ill while he was performing in New York City and Miss Livingstone stepped into the role.

It was temporary that time. But later, while the tour was in Chicago, Mr. Benny's new partner left the show and Miss Livingstone replaced her until the tour reached Los Angeles. There, Mr. Benny tried one more candidate before asking Miss Livingstone to be his partner on stage as well as in real life.

Soon, the Bennys were as well known as George Burns and Gracie Allen, their close friends. And on radio they were a famous pair of comedians.

Miss Livingstone tried one excursion into movies in 1937. She was featured in ''This Way Please,'' with Fibber McGee and Molly, another comic radio couple.

Except for a few televison appearances, Miss Livingstone retired from show business in the 1960's but remained a popular Hollywood hostess.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete.

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Replies:
Subject Author Date
In the late 1950s she developed debilitating stage fright; her last acting role was on a cartoon parody of the Jack Benny program, The Mouse That Jack Built, in 1959.She never acted after that.Sunday, June 30, 04:02:21pm


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