Bea Benaderet was an American actress, born in New York City and raised in San Francisco, California. She is best remembered for starring in the 1960s television series Petticoat Junction as Shady Rest Hotel owner Kate Bradley and The Beverly Hillbillies as Jed Clampett’s cousin Pearl Bodine, and as the original voice of Granny of Warner Brothers’ Looney Tunes media franchise and Betty Rubble on The Flintstones. Benaderet reached stardom in her late 50s after over 20 years of active work as a supporting player on radio and early television, as well as a career doing voice work for 1940s and 1950s Warner Bros. cartoons.
Benaderet began voicing the character of Granny?the sometimes dimwitted, sometimes assertive owner of Tweety Bird?in the Warner Bros. cartoon series beginning in 1943, and was one of the few female voice artists associated with the studio in the early days. Benaderet continued to play the voice of Granny into the 1950s, before June Foray took over the role in 1955.
Benaderet first received notice for her radio work in the 1940s playing Millicent Carstairs on Fibber McGee & Molly, telephone operator Gertrude Gearshift and many other roles on The Jack Benny Program, school principal Eve Goodwin on the Great Gildersleeve and appeared on several Amos ‘n Andy radio shows, usually as a store clerk trying to assist Andy and Kingfish in a purchase. Benaderet also played Blanche Morton, next door neighbor to George Burns and Gracie Allen, on both radio and television. She also had a regular role in the series “A Day in the Life of Dennis Day” as Mrs. Anderson, Day’s landlord, who was also the mother of Day’s girlfriend on the show. Benaderet also voiced the widow on the Mel Blanc show. She fends off Mel’s uncle Rupert’s money-mad proposals with the phrase, “now Rupert I am in no mood for your nincompoopity.”
She played Lucille Ball’s best friend, Iris Atterbury, on the 1940s radio series My Favorite Husband. When Ball and husband Desi Arnaz decided to create a very similar television series called I Love Lucy, Benaderet was first choice to fill the role of Ethel Mertz but was unavailable to take the role since she had already signed for Burns and Allen’s television adaptation of their radio program. Vivian Vance, an almost unknown character actress and singer, was eventually cast in the part. Benaderet did get to guest on I Love Lucy on January 21, 1952 in a very amusing appearance as Miss Lewis, a love-starved spinster neighbor.