PALOS VERDES (CBSLA)  —   Sitcom, game show and talk show staple Nanette Fabray has died.

Her family said Fabray died yesterday. They were at her bedside when she passed peacefully in Palos Verdes from natural causes.

Fabray was a comedienne,  actress, singer, dancer and humanitarian.

Born Ruby Nanette Bernadette Theresa Fabares in San Diego, her career spanned eight decades, from her start in Vaudeville at the age of 3, to musical theater in New York, to television and motion pictures in Hollywood. She received numerous awards including a Donaldson Award, the Screen Actor’s Guild Award for Lifetime Achievement in 1986, a Tony Award (for the show “Love Life”) and three Emmys.

She was  also known as a tireless advocate for  the rights of the deaf and hard of hearing, having overcome a significant hearing loss herself. For her humanitarian work, she received two honorary doctorate degrees, the President’s Distinguished Service Award and the Eleanor Roosevelt Humanitarian Award.

When she wasn’t acting (she was Mary Tyler Moore’s mother on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and grandma on “One Day at a Time”), she was on just about every game show known to man, most notably “Password” and “Hollywood Squares.” She appeared on Ed Sullivan’s show five times and was on “The Carol Burnett Show” 13 times.

She had a thriving career in musical comedies on Broadway and appeared as a regular on Sid Caesar’s “Caesar’s Hour” on TV (where she won the three Emmys.)

Her son Jamie MacDouglas says with all of her film and TV work, “most importantly, she was a wonderful, loving mother and grandmother.”

She is survived by her son Jamie, his wife Cathy, and her two grandchildren, Kylie and Ryan MacDougall. Fabray was also aunt to actress Shelley Fabarea  (“The Donna Reed Show”) who is married to “MASH” star Mike Farrell.

Fabray and Fabares appeared on the sitcom “Coach” together.

Both were active in the acting unions SAG and AFTRA.  SAG-AFTRA President Gabrielle Carteris issued the following statement Friday:

“A true performer and star of Hollywood’s Golden Age, Nanette Fabray had limitless exuberance and an expert sense of comic timing. Her dedication to her art was equaled only by her generosity and willingness to help others.”

Fabray was married twice — to NBC executive David Tebet from 1947-1951 and to screenwriter/show creator Ranald MacDougall from 1957 to his death in 1973.

In lieu of flowers, the family asked that donation be made in her memory to Gallaudet University. Located in Washington, D.C., the school teaches the deaf and hard of hearing.


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