Billie Bird

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Billie Bird
Billie Bird.jpg
Born
Berniece Bird Stowell

(1908-02-28)February 28, 1908
DiedNovember 27, 2002(2002-11-27) (aged 94)
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California, U.S.
OccupationActress, comedian
Years active1951–1997
Spouse(s)Edwin Sellen (?–1966; his death)
Children3

Billie Bird Sellen (February 28, 1908 – November 27, 2002), better known professionally as Billie Bird, was an American actress and comedian. [1] Best known as Margie in Dear John (1988-1992).

Contents

Early life

Born in Pocatello, Idaho, Bird was discovered at the age of eight while living at an orphanage. As a child, she worked in vaudeville, including the act known as the King Sisters, [2] and later in theater/cabaret before moving on to television and films. [3]

Career

She is credited with an appearance in a 1921 film Grass Widowers, but it is not clear if this is accurate. Otherwise, she broke into films in 1950, later making a brief, uncredited appearance in The Odd Couple as a chambermaid. Her only line was "Goodnight", which was said to Felix Ungar, who responded, "Goodbye." Bird often was cast by director John Hughes and appeared in many of his 1980 and 1990s films, such as Sixteen Candles , Home Alone , and Dennis the Menace , the latter two of which both paired her with veteran Hughes actor Bill Erwin playing her husband. She also starred as Mrs. Lois Feldman in Police Academy 4 . Her last film appearance was in 1995's Jury Duty , with Pauly Shore.

In addition to films, Bird made numerous appearances on various television series, including roles on Happy Days , Silver Spoons , Ironside , Eight Is Enough , The Facts of Life , Who's the Boss? , and Knots Landing . She was also a regular cast member on the sitcoms It Takes Two in 1982, Benson from 1984 to 1986, and in 1988 Dear John starring Judd Hirsch. Her last acting role was a brief appearance in 1997 on an episode of the sitcom George and Leo , which starred Bob Newhart and Bird's former co-star, Hirsch.

Bird entertained troops in Vietnam with her own variety act, "Flying High With Billie Bird." For her efforts, she was one of the few women to ever be made a honorary member of the Green Berets. [2]

Personal life

Bird was married to Edwin Sellen until his death in 1966; they had three children.

Death

Bird died on November 27, 2002, in Granada Hills, California, at the age of 94 after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. [3] She is buried in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California.

Filmography

Film
YearTitleRoleNotes
1950 Dallas School TeacherUncredited
1951 The Mating Season Mugsy
1951 The Lemon Drop Kid Racetrack Bettor on Iron BarUncredited
1951 Darling, How Could You! Rosie
1951 Rhubarb Mona LizzieUncredited
1951 Journey into Light Gertie
1952 Anything Can Happen Bus PassengerUncredited
1952 Just Across the Street Pearl
1952 My Man and I WaitressUncredited
1952 Somebody Loves Me Essie
1952 My Wife's Best Friend KatieUncredited
1953 Half a Hero Ernestine
1954 Woman's World Woman in Bargain BasementUncredited
Alternative title: A Woman's World
1957 The Joker Is Wild Ticket Seller / CashierUncredited
1957 Panama Sal Woman Manager
1958 Unwed Mother Gertie
1959 Born to Be Loved Drunk's wife
1959 Blue Denim WomanUncredited
1960 Too Soon to Love Mrs. JeffersonAlternative title: Teenage Lovers
1961 The Cat Burglar Mrs. Prattle
1961 Secret of Deep Harbor Mama Miller
1966 The Las Vegas Hillbillys Aunt Clem
1966 This Property Is Condemned Party GuestUncredited
1967 Barefoot in the Park Drunken neighborUncredited
1968 The Odd Couple ChambermaidUncredited
1970 Getting Straight Landlady
1972 Stand Up and Be Counted Uncredited
1982 Young Doctors in Love Mrs. Greschler the Flower Lady
1983 Max Dugan Returns Older Woman
1984 Sixteen Candles Dorothy Baker (Grandmother)
1986 One Crazy Summer Grandma
1986 Ratboy Psychic
1987 Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol Mrs. Lois Feldman
1988 Ernest Saves Christmas Mary Morrissey
1989 That's Adequate Old Lillian Darling
1989 Police Academy 6: City Under Siege Mrs. Stanwyck
1990 The End of Innocence Mrs. Yabledablov
1990 Home Alone Irene (woman in airport)
1993 Dennis the Menace Edith Butterwell
1995 Jury Duty Rose
Television
YearTitleRoleNotes
1958 Letter to Loretta Mrs. Shubb1 episode
1971 Adam-12 Winnie Goodrich1 episode
1973 Gunsmoke Old Woman1 episode
1974 Apple's Way Lillian1 episode
1976–1977 The Waltons Mrs. Cox
Shirley
2 episodes
1982 House Calls 1 episode
1982–1983 It Takes Two Mama22 episodes
1983 Goodnight, Beantown 1 episode
1984–1986 Benson Mrs. Rose CassidySeries Regular: Season 7
1984 Newhart Ella1 episode
1984 Happy Days Mother Kelp (Marion Cunningham's Mother)1 episode
1984 Three's a Crowd Aunt Mae (Jack Tripper's Aunt)1 episode
1985 Remington Steele Anna Dix1 episode
1986 Hardcastle and McCormick Mimi LeGrand1 episode
1986–1987 Brothers Aunt Wilhelmina (Donald Maltby's aunt)3 episodes
1986–1987 Silver Spoons Mildred2 episodes
1987 Max Headroom Florence1 episode
1987 Cheers Lillian Miller1 episode
1988–1992 Dear John Margie Philbert90 episodes
1988 Hunter Marie Watson1 episode
1992 Murphy Brown Ruthie1 episode
1993 The Wonder Years Woman2 episodes
1997 George and Leo 1 episode, (final appearance)

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References

  1. "Billie Bird". BFI. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012.
  2. 1 2 "Mailbag". Star TV & Radio.
  3. 1 2 "Billie Bird, 94; Actress Had Character Roles in Movies, on TV". The LA Times. December 6, 2002. Retrieved February 3, 2009.