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December 15, 2019

Bea Benaderet's Final Years before Tragic Death of the 'Petticoat Junction' Star at 62

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Legendary actress Bea Benaderet began her starring role as Kate Bradley on the hit sitcom "Petticoat Junction" in 1963 and proceeded with the part until the time of her death.

Bea died on October 13, 1968, at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, where she was undergoing further treatment for lung cancer, as reported by Newspapers.com.

The actress, whose career spanned four decades, was 62, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Publicity photo of Bea Benadaret, circa 1966. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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Bea was born on April 4, 1906, in New York. At the point when she was 12, she made her professional debut in a children's production of "The Beggar's Opera" in San Francisco.

Bea graduated from St. Rose Academy High School in San Francisco. She attended the Reginald Travis School of Acting in the same city.

In 1936, she started her profession in network radio, becoming a regular member of Orson Welles' performing company on "The Campbell Playhouse."

Gale Gordon and Bea Benaderet performing in Granby's Green Acres in 1950. | Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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Bea's big break as a comedian came three years later on Jack Benny's show. She broke into TV with the role of Blanche Morton in "The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show" (1950).

According to IMDB, It was because of her role as Blanche that she couldn't accept the part of Ethel Mertz in "I Love Lucy" (1951), which was offered to her by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz.

Four days after her demise and the day after her burial service, Bea's husband, Eugene Twombly, passed away from a massive heart attack.

Bea Benaderet as Kate Bradley on the hit sitcom "Petticoat Junction," circa 1960s. | Photo: YouTube/CLASSIC COMEDY CHANNEL

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When she was cast in "Petticoat Junction" as Kate Bradley in 1963, Bea was recognized as having "finally" become a star.

During a routine checkup, a spot was found on one of her lungs. At the time of her follow-up visit, the spot was no longer apparent, Newspapers.com reported.

However, in November 1967, it had returned and grown in size. She opposed quick exploratory medical procedure as she was filming the fifth season of "Petticoat Junction" at the time.

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After she completed filming the fifth season, Bea underwent the operation at Good Samaritan Hospital in Los Angeles, and a tumor was discovered that couldn't be removed.

Bea was diagnosed with lung cancer and underwent weeks of laser radiation treatment at Stanford University Medical Center.

Her treatment was effective and finished up in January 1968. Sadly, the cancer returned, and her condition declined.

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Chest pains related to her sickness required her to come back to the hospital for the last time. 

Bea was buried in Valhalla Memorial Park Cemetery in North Hollywood. Four days after her demise and the day after her burial service, Bea's husband, Eugene Twombly, passed away from a massive heart attack at 54 years of age. He was entombed beside her.

The actress was previously married to actor Jim Bannon. They share two children — Jack and Maggie.

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