The bell tolls for two from classic sitcoms


If you had a black and white television, or just a taste for vintage comedy, you probably watched Don Grady and Doris Singleton, even if you don’t recognize their names.

Grady, who died of cancer yesterday at 68, was one of the original smiling kids on The Mickey Mouse Club. (“Y? Because we love you.”) He went on to play Robbie Douglas, the middle child on My Three Sons with Fred MacMurray.

In this clip, you can see Robbie pursuing his love of cars and then trying his darndest to act nobly, but getting seduced by a scoop of ice cream offered by the temptress Jeanie (Bernadette Withers).


Grady later pursued music and is, in fact, credited with writing the theme song for The Phil Donahue Show.

Singleton who passed a day earlier at 92, had a memorable role on the mother of all sitcoms, I Love Lucy, as Lucy’s catty, competitive friend and neighbor, Carolyn Appleby. (The first time we met her, she was named Lillian Appleby.) Here’s a short clip of her tidying up her apartment in a hurry for a visit from Lucy. You have to be pretty confident to do physical humor around Lucille Ball, and Singleton could obviously pull it off.

Singleton was one of episodic TV’s most prolific actresses with a credit sheet that includes dozens of shows, everything from The Munsters to Marcus Welby, M.D. By bizarre coincidence she also had two recurring roles (as different characters -- Helen Morrison and Margaret Williams) on My Three Sons  .

The other thing linking I Love Lucy and My Three Sons of course was actor William Frawley who played Fred Mertz and Bub.


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