This loss really really digs deep. Kaye Ballard always felt like family. As a part Italian, her portrayal of Kaye Buell on "The Mothers-in-Law" represented the Italian mother as I saw in my own family. My mother, grandmother, great grandmother and aunts all gathered to watch every Sunday to watch "the Muthuh-in-Lawwws."
To me--and to entertainment history--she was the first Lucy Van Pelt, on the Columbia Record with her friend and collaborator Arthur Siegel as Charlie Brown, from their stage act, the first time Peanuts was performed live on stage in any official approved way (Charles Schulz loved it and drew the album cover.)
I wrote extensively about the original Columbia Peanuts album (and the TV cast album of “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” here.
Kaye also played one of the Stepsisters in the original Rodgers and Hammerstein production of Cinderella opposite Alice Ghostley. The show at the time was watched by more people combined than had seen any stage production of ANY kind ever.
She was a feisty, talented, darling woman to the end. I highly recommend listening to the audio version of her biography, and to watch the Facebook page for the recently completed feature documentary, “Kaye Ballard: The Show Goes On,” that won top prize at the Palm Springs Film Festival.
In his book of witty essays, One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, B.J. Novak (Saving Mr. Banks), talks of a heaven where you can see Frank Sinatra concerts and the like, which makes the wondeful — and hopeful — case that, once in Heaven, you can go to a live radio broadcast of The Jack Benny Program with the original cast, etc. I would assume Kaye Ballard, Eve Arden, Roger C. Carmel, Herb Rudley and even Deborah Walley are working on the third season of The Mothers-in-Law for director Desi Arnaz