Friday, June 29, 2012

Doris Singleton Passes On

Doris Singleton, who played Lucy's neighbour and rival Caroline Appleby on I Love Lucy, passed on 26 June 2012 at the age of 92.

Doris Singleton was born Dorthea Singleton on 28 September 1919 in New York City. As a child she trained as a ballerina and when she was a teenager even danced with the American Ballet Theatre. In the late Thirties she became a vocalist with Art Jarrett's orchestra. Miss Singleton went onto a career on radio. She was a regular on Lux Radio Theatre and appeared on such radio shows as The Whistler, The Jack Benny Programme, and many others. A guest appearance on My Favourite Husband would lead to a lifelong friendship with the radio show's star, Lucille Ball.

It was in 1953 that Doris Singleton first appeared in her semi-regular role as Caroline Appleby on I Love Lucy, Lucy's neighbour and at times rival. She was also a regular on the short lived Fifties and Sixties sitcom Angel. In the Fifties she also appeared on such shows as The Adventures of Superman, The Loretta Young Show, The Bob Cummings Show, The Great Gildersleeve, The Bob Hope Show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Richard Diamond Private Detective, Blondie, Make Room for Daddy, Frontier Doctor, Perry Mason, Mr. Lucky, and Tightrope.  She appeared in the films Terror at Midnight (1956), Affair in Reno (1957), and Voice in Mirror (1958).

In the Sixties Doris Singleon played a recurring role on My Three Sons. She also guest starred on both The Lucy Show and Here's Lucy. She appeared on such shows as Pete and Gladys, Checkmate, Gunsmoke, The Twilight Zone, The Munsters, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Red Skelton Show, The F.B.I., Family Affair, Gomer Pyle U.S.M.C., and Hogan's Heroes. In the Seventies Miss Singleton guest starred on Make Room for Granddaddy, All in the Family, Marcus Welby M.D., Love American Style, Cannon, and Quincy M.E. She was a regular on the soap opera Days of Our Lives in 1976. In the Eighties she appeared on Dynasty and Just Our Luck. Her last acting appearance on screen was in the 1985 TV movie Deadly Messages. Miss Singleton continued to appear in commercials as well as do voice overs. She also appeared in an episode of American Masters looking back at Lucille Ball, as well as an E! True Hollywood Story episode dealing with I Love Lucy.

Doris Singleton was a prolific and talented television actress. Miss Singleton played Caroline Appleby perfectly. Caroline always seemed prettier and more accomplished than Lucy on I Love Lucy (even though in real life Lucille Ball was very beautiful and very accomplished) and, sadly for Lucy, Caroline seemed to realise this.  While best known as Caroline on I Love Lucy, Miss Singleton played on many other series and always gave impressive performances. Indeed, while best known for her roles on situation comedies, she was quite good at drama too. Her appearances on such shows as Perry Mason and Mike Hammer bear this. Even had Doris Singleton never became friends with Lucille Ball, there can be no doubt that she would have had a long and successful career.

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