Posts Tagged ‘Doris Singleton’

Remembering Doris Singleton

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

The Archive is sad to report the death of actress Doris Singleton. Singleton passed away on June 26th at the age of 92. The multi-talented performer began her career as a ballet dancer in New York and transitioned to work as a singer and actress in network radio, where she appeared on many of the medium’s now-classic shows. She is probably best known in television for her recurring roles as “Carolyn Appleby,” one of Lucy’s friends on I Love Lucy; and as “Magda” on Hogan’s Heroes. She was married to writer Charlie Isaacs, who passed away in 2002.

The Archive interviewed her in 2005. Here are some selections from the interview:

On working on I Love Lucy

The camera over here was Lucy’s, over there was Desi’s, and there was one in the middle that got the whole thing.  You had to be very, very careful in your scenes with them that you did not put a hand in her camera. You had to be sure that you were back far enough.  It was quite different.  We didn’t have any teleprompters — we had notes all over a sweaty palm, which didn’t do us any good at all. And then there were many funny things that happened. Lucy and Vivian Vance were in a scene, and they were having a hard time because we had changes up to the very last minute.  And they were having a hard time with this particular scene and remembering the changes, so they wrote them all out on the coffee table, and that was fine.  And then we always had a break between acts.  The prop man would come and spray you if you had any jewelry on, anything that glittered was sprayed.  And then he sprayed their whole coffee table, and they had all of their notes on the table, so that was obliterated completely.  But they did it just fine.

On her recurring character on I Love Lucy, “Carolyn Appleby”

On the legacy of I Love Lucy

Every woman thinks that she sees herself in Lucy, wanting to do something more.  This was before women’s liberation and everything, and women were still housewives and they took care of the children and that was it, and they didn’t have big careers and so forth.  So she represented  what a lot of women would like to have in their lives.  And the show was funny.  It was clean.  It could be seen by anyone of the family, from the little child to the grandmother, and it wasn’t going to offend anyone. Of course, at that time, there was a lot of censorship.  I mean, they couldn’t be in the same bed together, ever.  And they couldn’t say when she was pregnant.  It had to be, “we’re having a baby.” and they did.

On her advice to aspiring actors

On a photo with her husband, writer Charlie Isaacs

That is my husband, Charlie Isaacs.  Best, best writer in television, bar none.  And that’s Doris Singleton, his loving wife.  Married for 60 years.  And loving every minute.

The entire 3-1/2 hour Archive of American Television interview is available at

2012 TV Hall of Fame Gala: A Night of Glamour and Giggles

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

As the social media guru for the Archive of American Television, I was honored to attend last night’s 21st Annual Television Hall of Fame Gala at the Beverly Hills Hotel on behalf of the Archive. As a television history scholar and a huge fan of pretty much all things TV, I was blown away by the sheer amount of talent present in the ballroom. Honorees from the beginning of television, to those running today’s top programs were in attendance, bringing some of the best in the business together under one roof for a truly memorable evening.

Performers Vivian Vance and Bill Frawley, executive Michael Eisner, show creator/producer Chuck Lorre, executive producers Mary-Ellis Bunim and Jonathan Murray, host Mario Kreutzberger (aka Don Francisco), and lighting director Bill Klages became the newest inductees into the Television Academy’s Hall of Fame. Honoree Sherman Hemsley was unable to attend the ceremony and will be inducted at a later date.

Some highlights of the evening:

* Being on the red carpet and seeing “Caroline Appleby” herself walk by, the still-glamorous Doris Singleton, on-hand to honor I Love Lucy co-star, Vivian Vance.

* Honoree Jonathan Murray sharing the secret of his success: “I surround myself with strong women.” He spoke lovingly about production partner and fellow inductee, Mary-Ellis Bunim, who passed away in 2004 and was inducted posthumously at last night’s ceremony. Bunim’s daughter, Juliana, accepted the honor on behalf of her mother.

* Lighting designer Bill Klages’ stories of shows on which he’s worked and performers whom he’s lit – Milton Berle always wanted to be able to see the audience, Dick Clark often thinks the audience is too bright, Marlo Thomas told him in his lighting she looks beautiful, and Barbra Streisand once simply said to him, “this is the worst lighting ever.”

* Univision President Cesar Conde presenting to Mario Kreutzberger: “Kreutzberger is the first Hispanic since Desi Arnaz to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.”

* Barry and Stan Livingston of My Three Sons telling tales of co-star William Frawley: it used to be Stan’s job to get Frawley back to the studio and keep him awake after Frawley enjoyed several cocktails at lunch.

* Warner Brothers Executive Peter Roth imparting the knowledge that Chuck Lorre has created/co-created six hit sitcoms, the most since Norman Lear and Garry Marshall.

* Marshall himself welcoming friend Michael Eisner into the Hall of Fame, joking that he wouldn’t be where he is today without two people: God, and Michael Eisner, and sometimes it’s easy to mistake one for the other.

* Being in a room with host Jon Cryer. As a child of the ’80s, Cryer will always be “Duckie” from Pretty in Pink to me, and to anyone from my generation. He’s fantastic as “Alan Harper” on Two and a Half Men, but I secretly hoped he would channel “Duckie” and suddenly break out into Otis Redding’s “Try a Little Tenderness” at any moment.

Thanks to last night’s program, I now know that Chuck Lorre is “a giggler” according to the cast members of his shows, and they consider Lorre’s laugh to be the gold star they hope to receive after shooting a scene; Happy Days‘ “Fonz” was originally going to have the last name Masciarelli (Garry Marshall’s real last name) and be shortened to “Mash”, but since M*A*S*H was on the air at the time and two TV Mashes might be confusing, the name was changed to Fonzarelli; and the script for Pretty Woman was originally called 3000. The things you learn at the TV Hall of Fame ceremony. I may be out of grad school now, but hearing television and film tidbits from the masters themselves is a pretty great continuing education course. has footage of last night’s event – check out the red carpet arrivals:

And watch the presenter tributes and inductee acceptance speeches to see what your favorite moments of the evening are. My advice: keep an eye out for a special message from James Burrows for a particularly great line that got a lengthy laugh. With all the comedy talent present last night, don’t be surprised if you find yourself laughing as if you’re watching your favorite TV shows: a lot of the people responsible for them were in the room, doing what they do best – bringing smiles to hundreds of faces.

- by Adrienne Faillace