Longtime Character Actress And Lucille Ball Protégé Dies at 98
Back in 1924, Mildred Frances Cook was born in Abilene, Texas. If you don’t recognize that name, that’s alright. She actually ended up changing her name at the request of Lucille Ball and became known as Carole Cook for the rest of her life.
Ball was responsible for bringing Cook to Hollywood. Cook even moved into Ball’s home for awhile after her divorce from Desi Arnaz. Cook appeared alongside ball on “The Lucy Show,” “Here’s Lucy” and the game show “Password.” You may also know her as the grandmother in the movie “Sixteen Candles.” Other notable credits include “Maude,” “Kojak,” “Dynasty,” and “Cagney & Lacey.”
On Wednesday January 11, 2023, Cook’s agent, Robert Malcolm, told CNN that Cook died “peacefully” from heart failure. She was 98 years old. She would’ve celebrated her 99th birthday on Saturday.
Cook was working at a theater in Ohio when she received a call from Lucille Ball asking her to come to California to be part of her Desilu musical review. The two became friends, and Cook was even mistaken by fans as Ball later in life.
Upon hearing the news of her death, the internet has responded with tributes to the late actress and comedian.
Carole Cook in Sixteen CandlesFriend, fun at dinner parties and always cracking jokes ❤️ A super LGBTQ+ ally 💔❤️💔 the long ash on her ciggy 😆 pic.twitter.com/gHVsoJ4fBP
— Whippet good (@von_rocco) January 12, 2023
— Night After Night: A Laverne And Shirley Podcast (@NightAftNightPC) January 12, 2023
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 pic.twitter.com/XBJuOQLvn6
— Mia Farrow🇺🇦 (@MiaFarrow) January 12, 2023
Cook is survived by her husband, actor Tom Troupe.
Learn more about Cook’s life, including Ball’s influence on her career, from Cook herself in the interview below.