Family & Companions
Alice Pearce's start in Hollywood can be traced to a recommendation by Gene Kelly. Pearce began her show business career as a nightclub comedian, and was a member of the Broadway production of "On the Town" (as Lucy Schmeeler). When the play was being made into a film, the movie's lead, Kelly, demanded that Pearce repeat her role (the only actor or actress from the play to be included in the 1949 film version), joining a cast that also included Frank Sinatra. This led to a short-lived comedy/music television show that Pearce hosted, simply titled "Alice Pearce" (also in 1949). Pearce would continue to act on Broadway and in film/television, before landing what would be her best-known role, as an annoyingly nosy neighbor, Gladys Kravitz, on the hit television show, "Bewitched." Before taking the role, Pearce discovered that she had ovarian cancer, but went ahead with the show's production (allegedly keeping the condition secret from others on the set). By the middle of the second season, Pearce's condition worsened, and she died on March 3, 1966, at the age of 48. The role of Kravitz would subsequently be filled by actress Sandra Gould, although Pearce would receive a posthumous Emmy Award, for "Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Comedy." Pearce and Gould would also share three TV Land Awards in the early 21st century, for their work on the show.