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Agnes Moorehead

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Title: Agnes Moorehead  
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Subject: Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, Johnny Belinda (1948 film), Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, Fourteen Hours, The Revolt of Mamie Stover (film)
Collection: 1900 Births, 1974 Deaths, 20Th-Century American Actresses, Actresses from St. Louis, Missouri, American Academy of Dramatic Arts Alumni, American Film Actresses, American People of English Descent, American People of Irish Descent, American People of Scottish Descent, American People of Welsh Descent, American Presbyterians, American Radio Actresses, American Stage Actresses, American Television Actresses, American Voice Actresses, Best Supporting Actress Golden Globe (Film) Winners, Burials in Ohio, California Republicans, Cancer Deaths in Minnesota, Deaths from Uterine Cancer, Lgbt Entertainers from the United States, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Contract Players, Muskingum University Alumni, National Radio Hall of Fame Inductees, Outstanding Performance by a Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Primetime Emmy Award Winners, People from Clinton, Massachusetts, People from Muskingum County, Ohio, People from Reedsburg, Wisconsin, People from the Greater Los Angeles Area, University of Wisconsin–madison Alumni
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Agnes Moorehead

Agnes Moorehead
Moorehead as Endora in Bewitched, circa 1969
Born Agnes Robertson Moorehead
(1900-12-06)December 6, 1900
Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
Died April 30, 1974(1974-04-30) (aged 73)
Rochester, Minnesota, U.S.
Cause of death Uterine cancer
Resting place Dayton Memorial Park in Dayton, Ohio
Education Central High School
Alma mater Muskingum College
University of Wisconsin
American Academy of Dramatic Arts
Occupation Actress
Years active 1933–1974
Spouse(s) Jack G. Lee (m. 1930; div. 1952)
Robert Gist (m. 1954; div. 1958)

Agnes Robertson Moorehead (December 6, 1900 – April 30, 1974) was an American actress whose career of six decades included work in radio, stage, film, and television.[1] She is chiefly known for her role as Endora on the television series Bewitched. She was also notable for her film roles in Citizen Kane, The Magnificent Ambersons, All That Heaven Allows, Showboat and Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte.

While rarely playing leads in films, Moorehead's skill at character development and range earned her one Primetime Emmy Award and two Golden Globe awards in addition to four Academy Award and six Emmy Award nominations. Moorehead's transition to television won acclaim for drama and comedy. She could play many different types, but often portrayed haughty, arrogant characters.


  • Early life 1
  • Career 2
    • Mercury Theatre 2.1
    • Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer 2.2
    • Radio 2.3
    • More film 2.4
    • Television 2.5
    • Bewitched 2.6
    • Later years 2.7
  • Personal life 3
    • Marriages 3.1
    • Sexuality 3.2
    • Politics 3.3
  • Death 4
    • The Conqueror and Cancer 4.1
  • Filmography 5
  • Radio appearances 6
  • Theater 7
  • References 8
  • Further reading 9
  • External links 10

Early life

Moorehead was born in Clinton, Massachusetts, of English, Irish, Scottish, and Welsh ancestry, to a Presbyterian clergyman, John Henderson Moorehead, and his wife, the former Mildred McCauley, who had been a singer. Moorehead later shaved six years off her age by claiming to have been born in 1906. Moorehead recalled her first public performance was at the age of three, reciting "The Lord's Prayer" in her father's church. The family moved to St. Louis, Missouri, and Moorehead's ambition to become an actress grew "very strong". Her mother indulged her active imagination, often asking, "Who are you today, Agnes?", while Moorehead and her sister[2] would often engage in mimicry, often coming to the dinner table and imitating parishioners. Moorehead noted and was encouraged by her father's amused reactions. She joined the chorus of the St. Louis Municipal Opera Company, known as "The Muny". In addition to her interest in acting, she developed a lifelong interest in religion; in later years, actors such as Dick Sargent would recall Moorehead's arriving on the set with "the Bible in one hand and the script in the other".[3]

Moorehead graduated from Central High School in St. Louis, in 1918. Although her father did not discourage Moorehead's acting ambitions, he insisted that she obtain a formal education. In 1923, Moorehead earned a bachelor's degree, with a major in biology, from Muskingum College (now Muskingum University) in New Concord, Ohio; while there, she also appeared in college stage plays. She later received an honorary doctorate in literature from Muskingum and served for a year on its board of trustees. When her family moved to Reedsburg, Wisconsin,[4] she taught public school for five years in Soldiers Grove, Wisconsin, while she also earned a master's degree in English and public speaking at the University of Wisconsin (now University of Wisconsin–Madison). She then pursued postgraduate studies at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, from which she graduated with honors in 1929. Moorehead received an honorary doctoral degree from Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.


Moorehead's early career was unsteady, and, although she was able to find stage work, she was often unemployed and forced to go hungry. She later recalled going four days without food, and said that it had taught her "the value of a dollar". She found work in radio and was soon in demand, often working on several programs in a single day. She believed that it offered her excellent training and allowed her to develop her voice to create a variety of characterizations. Moorehead met the actress Helen Hayes, who encouraged her to try to enter films, but her first attempts were met with failure. Rejected as not being "the right type", Moorehead returned to radio.

Mercury Theatre

Agnes Moorehead in the trailer for Citizen Kane (1941)

Moorehead met Orson Welles, and by 1937 was one of his principal Mercury Players, along with Joseph Cotten. She performed in his The Mercury Theatre on the Air radio adaptations, and had a regular role opposite Welles in the serial The Shadow as Margo Lane. In 1939, Welles moved the Mercury Theatre to Hollywood, where he started working for RKO Pictures. Several of his radio performers joined him, and Moorehead made her film debut as his mother in Citizen Kane (1941), considered one of the best films ever made. She was featured in The Magnificent Ambersons (1942), Welles's second film, and received the New York Film Critics Award and an Academy Award nomination for her performance. She also appeared in the Mercury film production, Journey Into Fear (1943).

Moorehead received positive reviews for her performance in Mrs. Parkington, as well as the Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress and an Academy Award nomination. Moorehead played another strong role in The Big Street (1942) with Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball, and then appeared in two films that failed to find an audience, Government Girl (1943) with Olivia de Havilland and The Youngest Profession (1944) with the adolescent Virginia Weidler.


By the mid-1940s, Moorehead joined Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, negotiating a $6,000-a-week contract with the provision to perform also on radio, an unusual clause at the time. Moorehead explained that MGM usually refused to allow their actors to play on radio as "the actors didn't have the knowledge or the taste or the judgment to appear on the right sort of show."[3] In 1943–1944, Moorehead portrayed "matronly housekeeper Mrs. Mullet", who was constantly offering her "candied opinion", in Mutual Radio's The Adventures of Leonidas Witherall; she inaugurated the role on CBS Radio.[5]

Moorehead skillfully portrayed puritanical matrons, neurotic spinsters, possessive mothers, and comical secretaries throughout her career. She played Parthy Hawks, wife of Cap'n Andy and mother of Magnolia, in MGM's hit 1951 remake of Show Boat. She was in many important films, including Dark Passage and Since You Went Away, either playing key small or large supporting parts. Moorehead was in Broadway productions of Don Juan in Hell in 1951–1952, and Lord Pengo in 1962–1963.


During the 1940s and 1950s, Moorehead was one of the most in-demand actresses for radio dramas, especially on the CBS show Suspense. During the 946-episode-run of Suspense, Moorehead was cast in more episodes than any other actor or actress. She was often introduced on the show as the "first lady of Suspense". Moorehead's most successful appearance on Suspense was in the legendary play Sorry, Wrong Number, written by Lucille Fletcher, broadcast on May 18, 1943. Moorehead played a selfish, neurotic woman who overhears a murder being plotted via crossed phone wires and eventually realizes she is the intended victim. She recreated the performance six times for Suspense and several times on other radio shows, always using her original, dog-eared script. In 1952, she recorded an album of the drama, and performed scenes from the story in her one-woman show in the 1950s. Barbara Stanwyck had played the role in the 1948 film version.

In 1941, Moorehead played Maggie in the short-lived Bringing Up Father program on the Blue Network. From 1942 to 1949, Moorehead played the role of the mayor's housekeeper in the radio version of Mayor of the Town. She also starred in The Amazing Mrs. Danberry, a situation comedy on CBS, in 1946. Moorehead's title character was described as "the lively widow of a department store owner who has a tongue as sharp as a hatpin and a heart as warm as summer."[6]

In The Blue Veil (1951)

More film

In the 1950s, Moorehead continued to work in films and to appear on stage across the country, including a national tour of Shaw's Don Juan in Hell, co-starring Charles Boyer, Charles Laughton, and Cedric Hardwicke. She appeared as the hypochondriac Mrs. Snow in Disney's hit film Pollyanna (1960). Alongside Bette Davis, Olivia De Havilland, Mary Astor, and Joseph Cotten, she starred in Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964), as the maid, Velma, a role for which she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award.


In 1959, Moorehead guest starred on The Rebel. Her role in the radio play Sorry, Wrong Number inspired writers of the CBS television series The Twilight Zone to script an episode with Moorehead in mind.[7] In "The Invaders" (broadcast January 27, 1961) Moorehead played a woman whose isolated farm is plagued by mysterious intruders. In "Sorry, Wrong Number", Moorehead offered a famed, bravura performance using only her voice, and for "The Invaders", she was offered a script where she had no dialogue at all.

Moorehead also had guest roles on Channing, Custer, Rawhide, in "Incident at Poco Tiempo" as Sister Frances, and The Rifleman. On February 10, 1967, she portrayed Miss Emma Valentine in "The Night of the Vicious Valentine" on The Wild Wild West, a performance for which she won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.


Moorehead and Bewitched castmates Elizabeth Montgomery and Dick York

In 1964, Moorehead accepted the role of Endora, Samantha's (Elizabeth Montgomery) mortal-loathing, quick-witted witch mother, in the situation comedy Bewitched. She later commented that she had not expected it to succeed and that she ultimately felt trapped by its success. However, she had negotiated to appear in only eight of every 12 episodes made, therefore allowing her sufficient time to pursue other projects. She also felt that the television writing was often below standard and dismissed many of the Bewitched scripts as "hack" in a 1965 interview for TV Guide.[8] The role brought her a level of recognition that she had not received before as Bewitched was in the top 10 programs for the first few years it aired.

Moorehead received six Emmy Award nominations, but was quick to remind interviewers that she had enjoyed a long and distinguished career. Despite her ambivalence, she remained with Bewitched until its run ended in 1972. She commented to the New York Times in 1974, "I've been in movies and played theater from coast to coast, so I was quite well known before Bewitched, and I don't particularly want to be identified as a witch." Later that year she said she had enjoyed playing the role, but it was not challenging and the show itself was "not breathtaking", although her flamboyant and colorful character appealed to children. She expressed a fondness for the show's star, Elizabeth Montgomery, and said she had enjoyed working with her. Co-star Dick Sargent, who in 1969 replaced the ill Dick York as Samantha's husband, Darrin Stephens, had a more difficult relationship with Moorehead, caustically describing her as "a tough old bird."[3]

Later years

In 1970, Moorehead appeared as a dying woman who haunts her own house in the early Night Gallery episode "Certain Shadows on the Wall". She also reprised her role in Don Juan in Hell on Broadway and on tour, in an all-star cast which also featured Edward Mulhare, Ricardo Montalban, and Paul Henreid.

Moorehead also memorably supplied the voice of the friendly Mother Goose in Hanna-Barbera's 1973 adaptation of the E. B. White children's book Charlotte's Web.

For the 1973 Broadway adaptation of Gigi, Moorehead portrayed Aunt Alicia and performed various songs, including "The Contract" for the original cast recording. She fell ill during the production, forcing Arlene Francis to replace her. Moorehead died shortly afterward.

In January 1974, three months before her death, Moorehead performed in two episodes (including the first) of CBS Radio Mystery Theater, the popular series produced by old-time radio master Himan Brown.

Personal life


Moorehead married actor John Griffith Lee in 1930; they divorced in 1952. Moorehead and Lee adopted an orphan named Sean in 1949, but it remains unclear whether the adoption was legal, although Moorehead did raise the child until he ran away from home. In 1954, she married actor Robert Gist; they divorced in 1958.


Agnes Moorehead's sexuality has been the subject of speculation.[9] A number of articles have appeared in periodicals in the alternative press identifying her as a lesbian.[10] Paul Lynde, Moorehead's occasional co-star on Bewitched, stated: "Well, the whole world knows Agnes was a lesbian--I mean classy as hell, but one of the all-time Hollywood dykes".[11] Journalist Boze Hadleigh reported an incident, also sourced to Lynde, in which, when she caught one of her husbands cheating on her, "Agnes screamed at him that if he could have a mistress, so could she".[12] Moorehead is reported in an interview to have acknowledged her same-sex orientation while identifying a number of other Hollywood actresses who "enjoyed lesbian or bi relationships".[13]

Moorehead's close friend Debbie Reynolds, who has been rumored to have been romantically linked with Moorehead, states categorically that Moorehead was not lesbian and threatened to sue ex-husband Eddie Fisher when Fisher announced he was planning to reveal in his autobiography that Moorehead and Reynolds were lovers.[14] Moorehead's longtime friend and producer, Paul Gregory, concurs in the assessment. Quint Benedetti, Moorehead's longtime employee and himself gay, also states that Moorehead was not lesbian and attributes the story to rumor-mongering by Lynde, whom he also names as the source of the Moorehead/Reynolds story.[15]


Moorehead was a staunch conservative Republican who believed in less government intervention and tax cuts. She rarely spoke publicly about her political beliefs, believing that actors should not express such opinions, but she supported her close friend Ronald Reagan for his 1966 run for governor of California.[16]


Moorehead died of uterine cancer on April 30, 1974, in Rochester, Minnesota; she is buried at Dayton Memorial Park in Dayton, Ohio. In 1994, Moorehead was posthumously inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame.[17]

The Touchdown Tavern in Reedsburg, Wisconsin, opened the Agnes Moorehead Lounge, exhibiting memorabilia.

Moorehead bequeathed $25,000 to Muskingum College with instructions to fund one or more "Agnes Moorehead Scholarships". She also left half of her manuscripts to Muskingum with the other half going to the University of Wisconsin. Her family's Ohio farm went to John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas along with her collection of Bibles and biblical scholarship materials.[18][19] Her mother Mildred received all of Moorehead's clothing and jewelry and Moorehead made provisions to support Mildred for the rest of her mother's life. Moorhead's home in Beverly Hills was left to her attorney, Franklin Rohner, along with the furnishings and personal property within. Small bequests were made for friends and domestic staff along with some charitable contributions.[18] She made no provision in her will for Sean (the boy she and John Griffith Lee had allegedly adopted) and the will stated that she had "no children, natural or adopted, living or deceased".[20]

The Conqueror and Cancer

Moorehead appeared in the 1956 movie downwind from the Yucca Flat, Nevada, nuclear test site. She was one of over 90 (of 220) cast and crew members — including co-stars Susan Hayward, John Wayne, and Pedro Armendariz, as well as director-producer Dick Powell — who developed cancer; at least 46 died from the disease.[21] However, these rates of cancer are almost identical to the general population, in which 43% may be expected to contract cancer in their lifetimes, and 23% die from it.[22] Nonetheless, speculations of a connection persist.

No bombs were tested during the filming of The Conqueror, but 11 explosions occurred the year prior. Two of them were particularly "dirty", depositing long-lasting radiation over the area. The 51.5-kiloton shot (code name "Simon") was fired on April 25, 1953, and the 32.4-kiloton blast (code name "Harry") went off May 19. (In contrast, the bomb dropped on Hiroshima was 16 kilotons.[23]) "Fallout was very abundant more than a year after 'Harry'", said former AEC researcher Robert C. Pendleton.[21] "Some of the isotopes, such as strontium 90 and cesium 137, would not have diminished much."[21] Pendleton pointed out that radioactivity can concentrate in "hot spots" such as the rolling dunes of Snow Canyon, a natural reservoir for windblown material, which was where much of The Conqueror was filmed.[21]

Pendleton noted that radioactive substances enter the food chain. By eating local meat and produce, The Conqueror cast and crew were increasing their risk. Pendleton, director of radiological health at the University of Utah, stated, "With these numbers, this case could qualify as an epidemic. The connection between fallout radiation and cancer in individual cases has been practically impossible to prove conclusively. But in a group this size you'd expect only 30-some cancers to develop. With 91, I think the tie-in to their exposure on the set of The Conqueror would hold up even in a court of law."[21] On the other hand, Pendleton's number has been questioned [24] by the National Cancer Institute, which states that a random group of 220 people, 96 should have cancer at some point in their lives, and that rate has been essentially the same throughout the 20th century, trending slowly upwards as longer lifetimes are experienced. Later inquiries into the deaths of the crew of The Conqueror have revolved around extreme cigarette usage among them.[21][25]

Moorehead was one of the first members of the company to perceive a connection between the film and the fallout. Her friend Sandra Gould, who was featured with her on Bewitched, recalls that long before Moorehead developed the uterine cancer that killed her in 1974, she recounted rumors of "some radioactive germs" on location in Utah, observing: "Everybody in that picture has gotten cancer and died." As she was dying, she reportedly said: "I should never have taken that part."[26]


Year Title Role Notes
1941 Citizen Kane Mary Kane
1942 The Magnificent Ambersons Fanny New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
The Big Street Violette Shumberg
1943 Journey into Fear Mrs. Mathews
The Youngest Profession Miss Featherstone
Government Girl Adele - Mrs. Delancey Wright
1944 Jane Eyre Mrs. Reed
Since You Went Away Mrs. Emily Hawkins
Dragon Seed Third Cousin's Wife
The Seventh Cross Madame Marelli
Mrs. Parkington Baroness Aspasia Conti Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Tomorrow, the World Aunt Jesse Frame
1945 Keep Your Powder Dry Lieut. Colonel Spottiswoode
Our Vines Have Tender Grapes Bruna Jacobson
Her Highness and the Bellboy Countess Zoe
1947 Dark Passage Madge Rapf
The Lost Moment Juliana Borderau
1948 Summer Holiday Cousin Lily
The Woman in White Countess Fosco
Station West Mrs. Caslon
Johnny Belinda Aggie MacDonald Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1949 The Stratton Story Ma Stratton
The Great Sinner Emma Getzel
Without Honor Katherine Williams
1950 Caged Ruth Benton
Captain Blackjack Mrs. Emily Birk
1951 Fourteen Hours Christine HIll Cosick
Adventures of Captain Fabian Aunt Jezebel
Show Boat Parthy Hawks
The Blue Veil Mrs. Palfrey
1952 The Blazing Forest Jessie Crain
1953 The Story of Three Loves Aunt Lydia segment: The Jealous Lover
Scandal at Scourie Sister Josephine
Main Street to Broadway Mildred Waterbury
Those Redheads From Seattle Mrs. Edmonds
1954 Magnificent Obsession Nancy Ashford
1955 Untamed Aggie
All That Heaven Allows Sara Warren
The Left Hand of God Beryl Sigman
1956 The Conqueror Hunlun
Meet Me in Las Vegas Miss Hattie
The Swan Queen Maria Dominika
The Revolt of Mamie Stover Bertha Parchman
The Pardners Mrs. Matilda Kingsley
The Opposite Sex Countess
1957 The True Story of Jesse James Mrs. Samuel
Jeanne Eagels Nellie Neilson
Raintree County Ellen Shawnessy Laurel Award for Top Supporting Performance, Female (2nd place)
The Story of Mankind Queen Elizabeth I
1958 The Tempest Vassilissa Mironova
1959 Night of the Quarter Moon Cornelia Nelson
The Bat Cornelia van Gorder
1960 Pollyanna Mrs. Snow
1961 Twenty Plus Two Mrs. Eleanor Delaney
Bachelor in Paradise Judge Peterson
1962 Jessica (film) Maria Lombardo
Poor Mr. Campbell Adrice Campbell Television movie
How the West Was Won Rebecca Prescott
1963 Who's Minding the Store? Mrs. Phoebe Tuttle
1964 Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte Velma Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
Laurel Award for Top Supporting Performance, Female (2nd place)
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1966 The Singing Nun Sister Cluny Laurel Award for Top Supporting Performance, Female (3rd place)
1969 The Ballad of Andy Crocker Lisa's Mother
1971 What's the Matter with Helen? Sister Alma
Marriage: Year One Grandma Duden Television movie
Suddenly Single Marlene Television movie
The Strange Monster of Strawberry Cove Mrs. Pringle Television movie
1972 Drop Dead Delilah Delilah Charles
Rolling Man Grandmother Television movie
Night of Terror Bronsky Television movie
1973 Charlotte's Web The Goose Voice role
Frankenstein: The True Story Mrs. Blair Television movie
1974 Rex Harrison Presents Stories of Love Hercule's Wife Television movie
Year Title Role Notes
1953 The Revlon Mirror Theater Martha Adams Episode: Lullaby
1955 The Colgate Comedy Hour Aunt Minnie Episode: Roberta
1956 Matinee Theatre Mrs. Barnes Episode: Greybeards and Witches
Studio 57 Mrs. Tolliver Episode: Teacher
1957 Climax! Irene Episode: Locked in Fear
Wagon Train Mary Halstead Episode: The Mary Halstead Story
1958 The DuPont Show of the Month Madame Defarge Episode: A Tale of Two Cities
Playhouse 90 Rose Ganun Episode: The Dungeon
Suspicion Katherine Searles Episode: The Protege
1959 G.E. True Theatre Ana Konrad Bethlen Episode: Deed of Mercy
Alcoa Theatre Mrs. Adams Episode: Man of His House
The Rebel Mrs. Martha Lassiter Episode: In Memoriam
1960 Startime Carmen Lynch Episode: Closed Set
The Millionaire Katherine Boland Episode: Millionaire Katherine Boland
The Chevy Mystery Show Elizabeth Marshall Episode: Trial by Fury
Adventures in Paradise Jikiri Episode: The Krismen
Rawhide Sister Frances Episode: Incident at Poco Tiempo
Shirley Temple's Storybook Hepzibah Pyncheon
Mombi the Witch
3 episodes
The Rifleman Alberta 'Bertie' Hoakam Episode: Miss Bertie
1961 The Twilight Zone Woman Episode: The Invaders
My Sister Eileen Aunt Harriet 2 episodes
1963-1965 Burke's Law Pauline Moss
Dona Ynez Ortega y Esteban
Liz Haggerty
2 episodes
1964 Channing Professor Amelia Webster Episode: Freedom Is a Lovesome Thing God Wot
The Greatest Show on Earth Millie Episode: This Train Don't Stop Till It Gets There
1964–1972 Bewitched Endora 218 episodes
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (1966, 1968-1971)
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (1967)
1966 The Lone Ranger Black Widow Episode: The Trickster/Crack of Doom/The Human Dynamo
1967 The Wild Wild West Emma Valentine Episode: The Night of the Vicious Valentine
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series
Custer Watoma Episode: Spirit Woman
1969 Lancer Mrs. Normile Episode: A Person Unknown
The Red Skelton Show Bertha Bluenose Episode: He Wanted to Be a Square Shooter But He Found That his Barrel was Round
1970 Barefoot in the Park Mrs. Wilson Episode: Pilot
The Virginian Emma Garvey Episode: Gun Quest
1971 Rod Serling's Night Gallery Head Witch
Emma Brigham
2 episodes
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color Mrs. Pringle Episode: Strange Monster of Strawberry Cove
Love, American Style Mrs. Cooper Segment: Love and the Particular Girl
1972 Marcus Welby, M.D. Mrs. Ramsey Episode: He Could Sell Iceboxes to Eskimos

Radio appearances

Year Program Role
1929-1930 Believe It or Not Ensemble
1930-1933 Sherlock Holmes Ensemble
1931 The Ben Bernie Show Ensemble
1932-1933 Mysteries In Paris Nana
1933-1934 Evenings In Paris Anna
1933-1936 The Armour Hour Ensemble
1934 The Gumps Min
1934-1935 Heartthrobs of the Hills Ensemble
1935-1937 Dot and Will Rose
1935-1936 The New Penny
1936 Way Down East
1936-1938 The March of Time Ensemble. Moorehead was noted for her portrayal of Eleanor Roosevelt.
1937 Terry and the Pirates The Dragon Lady
1937-1939 The Shadow Margo Lane
1938 The Mercury Theatre of the Air Ensemble
1938 The Campbell Playhouse Ensemble
1938-1941 The Cavalcade of America Ensemble
1939-1940 Brenda Curtiss Brenda's mother
1939-1940 The Aldrich Family Mrs. Brown
1940 The Adventures of Superman Lara
1941-1942 Bringing Up Father Maggie
1941-1942 Bulldog Drummond Ensemble
1942-1949 Mayor of the Town Marilly
1942-1960 Suspense Moorehead's appearances on Suspense were so numerous that she became known as "The First Lady of Suspense". Her most noted role was as Mrs. Elbert Stevenson in "Sorry, Wrong Number". She first performed the role on May 25, 1943 and reprised it on eight occasions through her last appearance on the program in 1960.

Moorehead appeared on hundreds of additional individual broadcasts across a radio career that spanned from 1926 to her final appearance, on CBS Radio Mystery Theatre in 1974.[27]


Moorehead began appearing on stage during her training at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She appeared in seven productions as a student. She continued acting in the theater throughout her career until just a few months before her death.[28]
Year Play Role
1928 Courage Understudy
1929 Soldiers and Women Understudy
1929 Scarlet Pages Company
1929 Candle Light Company
1934 All the King's Horses Company
1951 Don Juan In Hell Doña Ana. Moorehead originated the role in a national tour which culminated in a sold-out appearance at Carnegie Hall. Moorehead engaed in six tours of the production between 1951 and 1954 and appeared in a 1973 revival at the Palace Theatre.
1954 An Evening With Agnes Moorehead Moorehead toured nationally in this one-woman show on and off for over 20 years. It became best known under the name The Fabulous Redhead and in the mid-1960s as Come Closer, I'll Give You an Earful.
1957 The Rivalry Mrs. Stephen A. Douglas. Moorehead toured with the play but dropped out before its New York debut.
1959 The Pink Jungle Eleanor West
1962 Prescription: Murder Claire Fleming
1962 Lord Prego Miss Swanson
1963 High Spirits Madame Acanti
1973 Gigi Aunt Alicia


  1. ^ Obituary Variety, May 8, 1974, page 286.
  2. ^ Kear, Lynn. Agnes Moorehead: a Bio-Bibliography. (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1992). ISBN 0-313-28155-6. Page 2. Moorehead rarely spoke of her younger sister Margaret, who died when both were children, and was often thought of as an only child
  3. ^ a b c
  4. ^
  5. ^ Cox, Jim, Radio Crime Fighters, 2002, p. 18, McFarland, Jefferson, North Carolina, ISBN 0-7864-1390-5
  6. ^ Dunning, John. (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. Pp. 120, 443, 24.
  7. ^ Richard J. Hand, Terror on the Air!: Horror Radio in America, 1931–1952. McFarland, 2006. ISBN 0-7864-2367-6
  8. ^ "Agnes Moorehead's recipe for TV success: The Strength of an Amazon..." TV Guide. July 17–23, 1965
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^ Tranberg, p. 320
  16. ^ Tranberg, p. 293
  17. ^
  18. ^ a b
  19. ^
  20. ^ Tranberg, pp. 318-9
  21. ^ a b c d e f
  22. ^
  23. ^
  24. ^
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ Tranberg. pp 396-413
  28. ^ Tranberg, pp. 413-6

Further reading

  • Lynn Kear, Agnes Moorehead: a Bio-Bibliography. (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1992). ISBN 0-313-28155-6
  • Warren Sherk, Agnes Moorehead: A Very Private Person. (Philadelphia: Dorrance, 1976). ISBN 0-8059-2317-9
  • Charles Tranberg, I Love the Illusion: The Life And Career of Agnes Moorehead (Albany, Georgia: BearManor Media, 2005) ISBN 1-59393-029-1
  • Quint Benedetti, (My Travels with) Agnes Moorehead-The Lavender Lady (Bloomington, Indiana: Xlibris, 2010). ISBN 978-1-4500-3408-1

External links

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