Carole Cook was Lucille Ball’s protégé and her close friend as well.
Carole Cook, best known as comedienne Lucille Ball's protégé and for her roles in Sixteen Candles and The Incredible Mr. Limpet has died at the age of 98. The cause of death is reported to be heart failure, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Cook died on Wednesday, January 11, three days shy of her 99th birthday, in Beverly Hills. Lucille Ball and Cook worked together on The Lucy Show from 1963 to 1968 along with the spinoff Here's Lucy from 1969 to 1974. The actresses remained close friends until Ball's death in 1989.
Cook also played the wife of Don Knotts’ in The Incredible Mr. Limpet (1964). Fans of '80s cinema will remember her as Molly Ringwald’s handsy Grandma Helen in John Hughes’ Sixteen Candles (1984).
Born Mildred Frances Cook and originally from Abilene, Texas, Cook was also on Broadway and played Maggie Jones in the Tony Award-winning musical 42nd Street, as well as Blanche Dailey in Broadway's Romantic Comedy. In TV she's appeared in Grey's Anatomy, among others, and in films we've seen her in American Gigolo, Palm Springs Weekend, The Gauntlet, Grandview, U.S.A., Summer Lovers and A Very Sordid Wedding.
RIP Carole Cook! She was a legend and Icon! I was lucky enough to work with her early in my career. One of the last of the greats gone! Thank you for the memories! #carolecook #rip #legend pic.twitter.com/rNn3qPbTxO— valerie perrine (@TheValPerrine) January 12, 2023
The actress is survived by her husband actor Tom Troupe, 94, who she married in 1964. She and her husband acted together in plays such as The Lion in Winter and Father’s Day and raised money for those living with HIV/AIDS. Other survivors include her stepson, Christopher, and his wife, Becky, sister Regina, and nieces and nephews. Many people shared their condolences for Cook including actress Mia Farrow who tweeted, "Today we lost one of the greats, Carole Cook was making people laugh since the 1950s, on TV, in movies and on stage. We became friends when we were in a Broadway play for a full year. At 98 that huge heart of hers just gave up. I love you Carole."
Actress Broadway star Carole Cook has died at 98 -known for roles in 42nd street -lucy show & film favs palm springs weekend -american gigolo -summer lovers -sixteen candles & a very sordid wedding she was also hiv/aids activist fundraiser & will be missed https://t.co/pw50WN3Rcs— damagedbiguy 💙🌍🇺🇸🏳️🌈🏳️⚧️ (@damagedbiguy) January 12, 2023
Media consultant George Hahn tweeted, "One of the perks of working at @JoeAllenNYC in the ‘90s was getting to meet people like this. Carole used to come in with her husband and old-school showbiz friends. She’d try to get me to sneak a little Bailey’s in her coffee. She was a blast." Film critic Carla Renata also took to Twitter to share, "Carole Cook was THE absolute best! She would share countless stories with me about her bestie Lucille Ball and working with Don Knotts in my favorite flick The Incredible Mr. Limpet. Always vibrant & the life of the party - I will miss that red-headed ball of joy."
“I would like to be remembered as somebody who brought a little difference to people’s lives for the good,” the late Carole Cook said in 2015. https://t.co/rQwF0dGMyW— HuffPost (@HuffPost) January 12, 2023
Fans can make donations in her memory to the Entertainment Community Fund (formerly The Actors Fund).
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Giulio Marcocchi