Mabel Ida Albertson (July 24, 1901 – September 28, 1982) was an American actress.

Early years

Mabel Ida Albertson was born on July 24, 1901, in Haverhill, Massachusetts, to Flora Craft and Leopold Albertson, who were Russian-born Jewish immigrants.[1][2] Her younger brother was actor Jack Albertson. Albertson's mother, a stock actress, supported the family by working in a shoe factory.[1]

Albertson graduated from the New England School of Speech and Expression.[3]

Albertson traced her show business career back to age 13, when she was paid $5 per performance to play piano behind palm trees for a reader. She later moved to California and became involved with the Pasadena Playhouse.[4]

She "moved directly into professional stage work in stock, vaudeville, and night clubs, appearing with Jimmy Durante."[3]


Albertson was best known for her role as Phyllis Stephens, Darrin's neurotic, interfering mother, on the television sitcom Bewitched,[5]:97 who invariably ended her stays at the Stephens' home by saying to her husband, "Frank, take me home. I have a sick headache." She appeared in at least one episode of the courtroom drama series, Perry Mason: as Carrie Wilson in the season 6, 1962 episode entitled "The Case of the Hateful Hero".[6] Albertson also guest starred as character Agnes Daly, the mother of Marilyn's would-be suitor, in the "Munster Masquerade" episode of The Munsters, which aired Sep 24, 1964.

Albertson played the mother of Barbara Whiting Smith and Margaret Whiting in Those Whiting Girls.[7] She also played Susannah's mother in Accidental Family,[5] Alice's mother in Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice,[5]:119 Donald Hollinger's mother on That Girl,[5]:1065 Irene Brady in The Tom Ewell Show,[5]:1092Howard Sprague's mother on The Andy Griffith Show, Miss Ramsey on Hazel, Mrs. White on The Lucy Show episode Lucy and the Missing Stamp, and Dick Van Dyke's mother on The New Dick Van Dyke Show.


Albertson was heard on Dress Rehearsal, Joe Rines' Dress Rehearsal, and the Phil Baker Show.[8] She was also a writer for radio programs.[9]


A memorable early film role for Albertson was as a proper banker's wife who is repulsed by the bucolic title characters in Ma and Pa Kettle at Waikiki (1955). She was also seen in She's Back on Broadway, About Mrs. Leslie, Forever, Darling, The Long, Hot Summer, Don't Give Up the Ship,[3]On a Clear Day You Can See Forever[9] and as Mrs. Van Hoskins, a wealthy woman whose jewels are stolen, in the screwball comedy film What's Up, Doc? (1972).


Albertson's Broadway credits include The Egg (1962) and Xmas in Las Vegas (1965).[10]

Personal life

Albertson's son George Englund was once married to actress Cloris Leachman.[11]


According to her ex-daughter-in-law, Cloris Leachman, Mabel Albertson died on September 28, 1982, of Alzheimer's disease at St. John's Hospital, after suffering seven years of poor health[12] in Santa Monica, California at age 81. Her ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean. Her brother Jack Albertson, who had died 10 months before, also had his ashes scattered there.[11]


  1. ^ a b "Jack Albertson's Kinship to Cloris Leachman". Retrieved 2012-01-23. 
  2. ^ Berkvist, Robert (1973-01-07). "Jack Spreads A Little Sunshine - Jack Spreads Sunshine". Retrieved 2012-01-23. 
  3. ^ a b c "Mabel Albertson scrapbook: 1933-1939". The New York Public Library Archives & Manuscripts. New York Public Library. Retrieved 18 February 2016. 
  4. ^ Leadabrand, Russ (December 17, 1967). "Mabel Albertson Enjoys Roles In Variety of Stage Plays". California, Pasadena. Independent Star-News. p. 43. Retrieved February 16, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  5. ^ a b c d e Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7. P. 6.
  6. ^ "The Case of the Hateful Hero" details,; accessed January 14, 2016.
  7. ^ Bird, Bill (July 1, 1957). "A Wedding a Day on TV". California, Pasadena. Pasadena Independent. p. 26. Retrieved February 16, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  8. ^ Sies, Luther F. (2014). Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920-1960, 2nd Edition, Volume 1. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-5149-4. Pp. 203, 350, 520.
  9. ^ a b "Veteran Actress Is Actually A Softy". Texas, Lubbock. Lubbock Avalanche-Journal. February 22, 1970. p. 84. Retrieved February 16, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read
  10. ^ "Mabel Albertson". Playbill Vault. Retrieved 17 February 2016. 
  11. ^ a b Mabel Albertson at the Internet Movie Database
  12. ^ "Mabel Albertson is dead at 81". California, Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz Sentinel. September 30, 1982. p. 10. Retrieved February 16, 2016 – via  open access publication – free to read