Alice Pearce was born Oct. 16, 1917 in New York City, the only child of bank vice president Robert E. Pearce and Margaret Clark Pearce. Her childhood was spent in several European locales, but she returned to the U.S. to study drama at Sarah Lawrence College, just outside New York City, graduating in 1940. Pearce quickly built an impressive Broadway résumé, appearing in On the Town
with Fred Astaire, Bells Are Ringing
and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes
, among others. In Hollywood, she reprised her role in the film version of On the Town
and appeared alongside Jerry Lewis as a "hyper-hypochondriac" in the 1964 film The Disorderly Orderly
. Her other TV appearances included The Ed Sullivan Show
, The Milton Berle Show
and her own series in 1948, The Alice Pearce Show
. Pearce played snoopy neighbor Gladys Kravitz on Bewitched
for two seasons before succumbing to ovarian cancer March 3, 1966. She received a posthumous Emmy Award for Best Supporting Actress in 1966 for her work on the show and became the epitome of the nosy neighbor for future TV generations.
The Kravitzes are an average retired suburban couple. And Gladys is the ultimate neurotic nosey neighbor. Living next door to a witch, she witnesses everything from Santa Claus and his reindeer heading off for the holidays to furniture and people popping in and out of houses. From time to time, Abner is able to convince Gladys that her problems and the things she sees are all in her mind. Even when she's zapped into the 17th century, Abner tries to convince her it is a dream. But they do love each other and are big-hearted enough to take in a foster child at Christmas, look after their nephew and be supportive of Gladys' equally neurotic brother, a shy concert violinist.