A Bewitching Aunt

By | Aug 12, 2009

For those of us who grew up in the 1960s one of our favorite television comedies was the ABC series Bewitched starring the beautiful Elizabeth Montgomery. One of the recurring characters of the show was Sam’s Aunt Clara as played by Marion Lorne.

Marion Lorne was born on August 12, 1885 in West Pittston, Pennsylvania, a small mining town in the southeastern part of the state. She was trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York and appeared in her first Broadway show in 1905.

She married playwright Walter C. Hackett performing in many of his plays throughout the 20s and 30s. Eventually they settled in England and founded the Whitehall Theater. She remained his wife until his death in 1944.

Although an actress throughout the first half of the 20th century she did not appear in her first film until 1951 in Alfred Hitchcock’s Strangers on a Train playing the role of Robert Walker’s mother.

But she will always be remembered as the befuddled and amusingly perplexed Aunt Clara, who was losing her witching powers due to advance age. She would appear in in 27 episodes during the show first four years until her death on May 9, 1968. In a show that often had new actors in old roles, hers was never replaced. She would win an Emmy award posthumously for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her work as Aunt Clara.

The year of her birth is listed as 1885 on her grave marker. Social Security Death Index lists it as 1883 and while alive it was commonly listed as 1888.


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