Thursday, December 4, 2008

Hillary Brooke: In Black Nylons

From the 1953 Invaders From Mars. Not quite the Hillary that comes to mind for most of the world.
Hillary Brooke (September 8, 1914 – May 25, 1999), was an American film actress best known for her work in Abbott and Costello and Sherlock Holmes films. She also played Lou Costello's love interest in the first season of the Abbott and Costello Show. A former model, the tall (5'6") blonde was born Beatrice Peterson in Astoria, New York but spoke with a cultured accent. Brooke developed this early in her career to separate herself from other sexy blonde actresses. She appeared in Africa Screams (1949) and Abbott and Costello Meet Captain Kidd (1952) with the comedy team, and was a regular on The Abbott and Costello Show. She also co-starred in three Sherlock Holmes movies with Basil Rathbone and Nigel Bruce, including The Woman in Green (1945). Her other film credits include Jane Eyre (1944), The Enchanted Cottage (1945), the Alfred Hitchcock thriller, The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956), the 3-D film The Maze (1953), and the sci-fi B-movie classic Invaders from Mars (1953).
In The Abbott and Costello Show, which was broadcast in the early 1950s but syndicated for decades afterwards, Brooke played the role of a straitlaced, classy fellow tenant of the rooming house where the two main characters lived. She was treated with deference by the duo and was not a target of pranks and slapstick. Like the other main characters, her character's name in the show was her real name.
On September 28, 1957, she played Doris Cole in the second episode of the Perry Mason TV show, titled "The Case of the Sleepwalker's Niece". She was married to Raymond A. Klune an executive at MGM (1960 - 24 September 1988) (his death), had two children, son Donald Klune in Ketchum, Idaho and stepdaughter Carol Klune of Arcata, CA. After her marriage to Klune in 1960, Brooke retired from acting and devoted her time to religious and charitable causes.Hillary is survived by her children, brother Arthur Peterson of Seattle; 17 grandchildren, and 11 great-grandchildren. On May 25, 1999, Brooke died in a hospital in Fallbrook, California. For her contribution to the television industry, Hillary Brooke has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

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