TV actress Peggy Rea dies

peggy-reaImage Credit: Everett CollectionPeggy Rea, the plumpish actress who routinely played sunny supporting characters with names like Lulu, Bertha, and Bessie on hit television shows, died of heart failure at her home in Toluca Lake, Calif., on Saturday, according to the New York Times. She was 89. Rea might be best known for playing Boss Hogg’s wife on The Dukes of Hazzard, but she also played pivotal characters on The Waltons and Grace Under Fire.

Born and raised in California, Rea came to New York to act on the stage, landing Broadway roles in a 1950 revival of A Streetcar Named Desire and the Cole Porter musical Out of This World. She transitioned into television, with her first appearance on an episode of I Love Lucy, and later appeared in popular shows, such as Gunsmoke, All in the Family, and Step by Step.

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  • sunnyd

    Why does it matter that she was “plumpish”? Even if her weight contributed to her death, it’s just rude and unneccesary to continue pointing out that she had weight issues after she’s died. Everyone needs to stop treating overweight people like second-class citizens!

    • whatevs

      I don’t think he meant it as an insult. Maybe her figure was part of her image. Besides, at the rate our country is going, the second class citizens will be the thin people, so don’t worry (I’m assuming you’re overweight).

      • Lisa

        @whatevs – “(I’m assuming you’re overweight.)” Other possibility, just not a jerk making off based assumptions like you. I don’t understand why everyone assumes a thin person wouldn’t possibly have issues with comments about weight.

      • whatevs

        A thin person doesn’t think every fathomable comment about a person’s size means that overweight people are treated like second class citizens. Only overweight people read that much into a neutral comment. That’s why I say that.

        You’re no better than me, by the way, for calling me a jerk. Be a bigger person if you think you’re so much better.

      • LoveBug68

        So Whatevs – does that mean a white person cannot be offended by a racist comment against a black person or that a straight person can’t be offended about a negative comment to a gay person? Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

      • Dan

        Hey people, chill out. The woman was 89 years old so the fact she was “plumpish” didn’t really contribute to an early death.

    • Ricky

      They mention her weight because it was a noted part of her acting. Go back and watch a few things she did and you’ll see that.

  • Brett

    She was funny on Grace Under Fire as Grace’s mother in law, Jean Kelly

  • Nancy

    She was something else on Dukes of Hazzard. Loved her :) RIP Ms. Rea.

  • harry

    Thank you for the Memories Peggy Rea!

  • claudenorth

    These are the real stars — the actors and actresses who give depth and texture to films and television.

  • Sugar

    Whoever said she was overweight can kiss my damn ass!

    • James

      She WAS overweight. Now bend over.

  • Eric

    Cant believe all this %*&& folks are posting about her weight. Not sure about her, but Sorrel (Boss Hogg) wore a fat suit on the show. She may have had one too- as she didnt look as heavy on later shows like Grace

  • Stephanie T.

    Uhm. She was 89. Weight was not the only factor. Funny. When she was on Step by Step and Grace, she looked at least 60ish. A funny and talented actress, and she will be missed.

    • Alec

      If she would’ve dropped that weight, we might still have her.

  • Apostate

    Rest in peace,Peggy.

  • Al

    I’ve been seeing Mrs. Rea on reruns of “The Waltons” lately and decided to Google her. I was saddened to see that she passed away earlier this year. I always liked her in “The Waltons” and on other shows I would sometimes see her in. She always reminded me of my high school girlfriend’s mom, a lady I am still close to over 30 years later. It’s sad that she had no immediate family. Did she ever marry or have children? Mrs. Peggy, you were a talented actress. May you rest in peace.

  • walt

    I remember Peggy from the early”I Love Lucy” shows, she always had a great smile. She reminded me of a lady next door to us when I growing up in Pittsburgh. I watch re-runs of Lucy and the Waltons and she always makes me smile. rest in peace Peggy.

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