Audra Lindley

Active - 1941 - 1997  |   Born - Sep 24, 1918 in Los Angeles, California, United States  |   Died - Oct 16, 1997   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Comedy Drama, Romance

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Audra Lindley made her film bow with a blink-and-you-miss-her bit in 1942's The Male Animal. An established Broadway actress by the 1950s, Lindley has appeared in such plays as Take Her She's Mine, Spofford and A Case of Libel. Her TV work has included regular stints on such soap operas as Search for Tomorrow, From These Roots and The Edge of Night; she spent several years as Liz Mathews on NBC's Another World. Equally busy in TV's nighttime hours, Lindley was a regular on the 1970s sitcoms Bridget Loves Bernie, Fay and Doc. Her most famous prime-time TV assignment was as long-suffering Helen Roper in Three's Company (1977-79) and its 1979 spin-off The Ropers. She also appeared as Elizabeth Montgomery's mother in a brace of "Edna Buchanan" TV movies, and as Phoebe's grandmother on a 1994 episode of Friends. She made her final film appearance in Peter Hyams's action thriller Sudden Death (1995). Lindley was for many years the wife of actor James Whitmore. She died at age 79 from complications of leukemia on Oct 16, 1997.

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  • Born into a show-business family; dropped out of high school to work as a stand-in and stuntwoman (usually involving horseback stunts).
  • Followed several successful stints on Broadway (On Golden Pond) with appearances on soap operas, including a six-year stay as the evil Aunt Liz on Another World.
  • Wore a wig for the role of witty landlord's wife Helen Roper on ABC's Three's Company and its short-lived spin-off, The Ropers.
  • Juggled three sitcom roles on three networks in 1976, adding Doc (CBS) and Fay (NBC) to her workload while on Three's Company.  
  • Played Cybill Shepherd's mother twice—in the 1972 film The Heartbreak Kid and again 25 years later on the CBS sitcom Cybill. A Cybill script was at Lindley's bedside at the time of her death.