By Carmel Dagan
Shirley Mitchell, who had a recurring role on “I Love Lucy” as Lucy Ricardo’s friend Marion Strong as part of a seven-decade career that ended just last year, died Nov. 11 of heart failure in the Westwood area of Los Angeles. She was 94.
Mitchell was the widow of three-time Oscar-winning composer Jay Livingston, who penned the songs “Que Sera Sera (Whatever Will Be Will Be)” and “Mona Lisa” as well as the iconic theme from “Bonanza.”
In 2012 Mitchell impersonated Betty White for the animated series “Mad,” and in 2006 she voiced a role in a “Desperate Housewives” videogame. She made her screen debut in the 1944 film “Jamboree” and appeared steadily on television for decades starting in 1951 with a guest appearance on “Hollywood Theatre Time” and guesting on everything from “Dragnet” to “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.” She recurred on the series “Bachelor Father” in 1958-59 and as Mae Belle Jennings on “Petticoat Junction” and played a variety of roles on “The Jack Benny Program,” “Make Room for Daddy,” “The Red Skelton Hour,” “Please Don’t Eat the Daisies” and “Green Acres.” Other TV credits included “The Beverly Hillbillies,” “The Dick Van Dyke Show,” “The Odd Couple,” “Three’s Company” and daytime soap “The Young and the Restless.”
She returned to the bigscreen in the 1980s after occasional uncredited roles with appearances in “Big Business,” starring Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin, and “The War of the Roses,” with Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner.
Husband Jay Livingston died in 2001. Survivors include Mitchell’s sister-in-law, the Oscar-nominated “Sunset Blvd.” actress Nancy Olson.