Sadly, we lost Suzanne Pleshette yesterday, who died from complications following a battle with lung cancer. This follows the death only about a year ago of her husband, comedian Tom Poston, whom she'd married late in life, after both had been widowed by previous spouses. I ran this caricature once before in celebration of Bob Newhart's birthday, as "The Bob Newhart Show" remains one of my alltime favourite sitcoms. Now, hearing about Suzanne Pleshette's death at 70, I find it hard to believe that it's been over 30 years since that show was originally on the air.
For many of my generation, Suzanne Pleshette represented the type of woman we associate with entertainment of the 60's and 70's. She was attractive and sophisticated, and always a class act. In addition to the years she played Emily Hartley on "The Bob Newhart Show", I remember her as a familiar presence in some of the Disney films of my youth, including "Blackbeard's Ghost", "The Ugly Dachshund", and "The Shaggy D.A.", all of which teamed her up with Disney regular, Dean Jones, with whom she had a natural onscreen chemistry. She also costarred alongside one of my very favourite actors, James Garner, in "Support Your Local Gunfighter". With the advent of DVD, many of the TV shows I loved when I was young have been released in the last few years, enabling me to bask in the warm glow of nostalgia. Again, Suzanne Pleshette turns up in guest roles on some of these series. She played opposite Eddie Albert in a first season episode of "Columbo", and she was in the very first episode of "Wild Wild West", starting the trend that show would become famous for - having a different gorgeous woman in every show opposite Robert Conrad, much like the tradition of the Bond girls.
After hearing of Suzanne's passing yesterday, I watched an episode of "The Bob Newhart Show" in tribute to her. She and Bob were just so great together and I miss the classiness of that era of TV. Goodnight, sweet Suzanne...
(Please also see Jim Hill's site for another look back at Suzanne's career, with an emphasis on her films for Disney)