Carole Cook Of The Incredible Mr. Limpet, Sixteen Candles, And Broadway Fame Dies At 98

The famed star of stage and screen, Carole Cook, has died of heart failure at the age of 98. Born Mildred Francis Cook, the actor was given the stage name Carole by her longtime friend and mentor Lucille Ball (who got the name from another friend, Carole Lombard) and it stuck for her entire 60-year career.

Starting in the late 1950s, Cook was a staple on television, appearing on shows like "U.S. Marshalls," "The Lucy Show," "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis," "McMillan & Wife," "Maude," "Baretta," "Charlie's Angels," "Kojak," "The Love Boat," "Murder, She Wrote," "Grey's Anatomy," and "Dynasty," to name but a small sampling of her credits list.

She was almost as prolific on the stage as she was on television, appearing in a ton of big-name shows. She notably was the second actor to fill in for the role of Dolly Levi in "Hello, Dolly!" after Carol Channing and appeared in shows on and off Broadway from 1956-2006. She played Maggie Jones in "42nd Street," Lalume in "Kismet," and Evie in "Stop the World — I Want to Get Off." 

Born in Texas, Cook never lost that Lone Star Gal state of mind

Her appearances in movies is where I mostly know her work. She had a small but memorable part as one of Molly Ringwald's grandmothers in "Sixteen Candles," and absolutely destroys every time she's on the screen. Her delivery of "Fred, she's gotten her boobies" will always get a laugh out of me, no matter what mood I'm in while watching this movie. You'll also remember this scene ends with her going in for a handful, much to Ringwald's dismay, and it's a credit to Cook's playful performance that the scene comes off as funny and not insanely creepy. Okay, a little creepy, but funny creepy.

'80s kids will remember her from "Grandview, USA," and '80s adults would have clocked her in "American Gigolo." Or maybe some '80s kids watched Richard Gere as a sex worker too. It was a wild, unregulated time to be a child, so who knows? Cook also appeared as Don Knotts's wife in "The Incredible Mr. Limpet," which was a foundational movie for me growing up. 

The thing about Carole Cook is she always brought everything to her roles, letting her own natural spunk and sass shine through, traits that would still garner her attention even as recently as 2018 when she got into a bit of trouble for suggesting to TMZ that it wouldn't be such a bad thing if President Donald Trump was assassinated. "Where is John Wilkes Booth when you need him?" she quipped. 

It was a joke that was taken extremely seriously by the right, to the point that she was even visited by the Secret Service to make sure this 94-year-old woman wasn't a real threat to the President. 

Cook's life and career took her through many different eras of show business and she excelled at it all. They don't make 'em like her anymore and she will be missed.