Saturday, December 21, 2013

Ab---ner! It's Sandra Gould!

Scoff if you will, Bewitched fans, but to me Sandra Gould was always the "real" Gladys Kravitz. When I first saw the show, in syndicated reruns of the 1970s, the black-and-white episodes were never shown, so it wasn't until much later that I had the chance to appreciate the genius of the late Alice Pearce, who created the role (and was awarded an Emmy for it, posthumously). Because Pearce was so good in the role, it was a challenge for Gould (1916-1999) to win over fans when she assumed the role in Season 3.
Gould as a telephone operator on Gilligan's Island.

I recently read a 1966 interview she did with writer Joan E. Vadeboncoeur, shortly after she joined the show. Gould explained that she originally declined to read for the part. Not only had she been friendly with Pearce, with whom she shared a dressing room when they worked in the film Dear Heart (1964), but Gould was also grieving the loss of her husband, producer Larry Berns, to cancer. "I stayed home and nursed him [for] five years," Gould recalled. "When he died I was like a basket case." She finally agreed to meet Bewitched executive producer Harry Ackerman because "I knew I had to get out of the house. They had already read 60 actresses and I read with 14 or 15. Then they wanted me to test, and I was still reluctant ... [O]ne day they called and said, "Come down and sign your contract." Once cast, Gould chose not to view episodes in which her predecessor appeared. "I can't be Alice," she decided, "so I'll do it the way I am."

Gould had been making people laugh the way she was for years, including a long run as Miss Duffy on radio's Duffy's Tavern. She was also a favorite of the late Joan Davis, and I enjoyed seeing Gould in numerous episodes of I Married Joan, as I researched my forthcoming book on its star. Sandra Gould had a rich, rewarding career as a character actress, not the least of which was giving us a memorable Take Two on Gladys Kravitz.


  1. Your a gold gould legend.

  2. It's a tribute to both the actresses who played Gladys that each is most remembered for putting their own spin on the role. And "Bewitched" remains one of the best shows of its era for always casting the very best performers in recurring or guest roles.