Joyce Bulifant

Active - 1967 - 2019  |   Born - Dec 16, 1937   |   Genres - Comedy

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Biography by Nathan Southern

Actress Joyce Bulifant clocked in as a television mainstay for several decades, nearly always in small supporting roles or guest spots, on series such as Perry Mason, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and Dr. Kildare. Beginning in 1971, one year into the eight-season run of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Bulifant landed an assignment as a regular on that program; she played Marie Slaughter, the wife of amiable newswriter Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod) -- an assignment that carried her through the final season of the series. During the 1970s, she also appeared as a regular contestant/participant on the game show Match Game, alongside such "Me Decade" stars as McLean Stevenson and Mary Tyler Moore Show co-star Betty White.

Bulifant's small-screen work continued unabated for several decades; in time, she also moved into occasional bit parts and supporting roles in features. She was particularly memorable (and visible) as Mrs. Davis, the mother of a sick child whose IV is knocked out by a klutzy singing nun, in the farce Airplane! (1980), and then, around 20 years later, experienced a career resurgence thanks to her son, director John Mallory Asher (the child of Bulifant and beach movie director William Asher), who cast her in the road comedy Diamonds (1999) and the critically reviled sex farce Dirty Love (2004).

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