Barbara Pepper Biography
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Barbara Pepper (born Marion B. Pepper; May 31, 1915 – July 18, 1969) was an American stage, television, radio, and film actress. She is best known as the first "Doris Ziffel" on the sitcom Green Acres. Pepper was born in New York City, the daughter of actor David Mitchell "Dave" Pepper, and his wife, Harrietta S.
Pepper. At age 16 she started life in show business with Goldwyn Girls, a musical stock company where she met lifelong friend Lucille Ball. Pepper began making movies. Among her later film parts were small roles in My Fair Lady and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. She also performed radio parts. In 1943, she married actor Craig Reynolds (né Harold Hugh Enfield), and the couple later had two sons.
After Reynolds died in 1949 in a California motorcycle accident, Pepper was left to raise their children alone. She never remarried. After gaining weight, her roles were mostly confined to small character parts on television, including several appearances on I Love Lucy, The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, Petticoat Junction, and The Jack Benny Program.
She made four appearances on Perry Mason, including the role of Martha Dale, mother of the title character, in the 1957 episode "The Case of the Vagabond Vixen". A long-time friend of Lucille Ball, Barbara was considered for the role of Ethel Mertz on "I Love Lucy," but was passed over due to the fact that she was reportedly a drinker. William Frawley ("Fred Mertz") was, likewise, reportedly, a drinker and was already cast.
It was felt that having two drinkers in the cast might eventually cause difficulties so they auditioned and found Vivian Vance to play Ethel instead. She may be best remembered as the first Doris Ziffel on Petticoat Junction in 1964, although her character's name on the "Genghis Keane" episode of Petticoat Junction was Ruth Ziffel. Her role as Doris Ziffel continued on Green Acres from 1965 to 1968, until heart ailments finally forced her to leave that weekly series.
Veteran actress Fran Ryan replaced her on Green Acres, which would continue to run for another three years. Her final performance was in the 1969 film Hook, Line & Sinker, in which she played Jerry Lewis's secretary.