Sources have confirmed that Shirley Mitchell, who is believed to be the last surviving adult cast member of the cast of “I Love Lucy,” passed away earlier this week at the age of 94. Mitchell played the role of Marion Strong on a few episodes of the 1953-54 season, and helped to produce one of the more memorable laughs in the early days of television. While there were programs that came before it, “I Love Lucy” to us still stands as the first “classic sitcom” that still stands the test of time today. “The Honeymooners” is also on that list, but it came a couple of years later.
While the actor who played Little Ricky in “Richard Keith” is still alive, he was just a toddler during the days of the show being on the air. Meanwhile, Doris Singleton, who was the other last surviving adult cast member (Lillian), died in June 2012.
Mitchell may have been known best these days for her “I Love Lucy” role, and there is a certain amount of historical significance that comes from it, but this was hardly her only role on television by any means. Some of the other classic sitcoms that she appeared in include “Green Acres,” “Petticoat Junction,” “Make Room for Daddy,” “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “Perry Mason,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “Mister Ed,” “Dragnet,” and numerous appearances on “The Red Skelton Hour.” Clearly, she’s got quite a place cemented for herself as one of the greatest recurring guest actors of the 1950s and 60s, even though she never had a series regular role like we know it today with dozens upon dozens of episodes of a show to her name.
One of the real signs of the times these days is that it is harder than ever to catch new episodes of “I Love Lucy” on the air. Our suggestion is to either check your local listings, or head over to TV Land. They are currently scheduled to run back-to-back episodes on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday of next week starting at 11:00 a.m. Eastern time.
Thoughts go out to Mitchell’s family during this tough time.