Gloria Henry, actress who played the mom on Dennis the Menace, dies at 98
Actress Gloria Henry, who played Alice Mitchell, the mom of the titular character in the sitcom Dennis the Menace, died Saturday. She was 98.
Her daughter and son announced the sad news.
"She's flying now, free of her body. She left on a countdown 4 3 2 1 @ 3:40pm," Erin Ellwood posted Saturday, along with a sweet photo of her mother. "She was such an incredible woman in so many ways. This last year with her has been beautiful and heartbreaking. Thank you all for following me and supporting me on this journey - this beautiful land mine. Goodbye Momma, I love your guts forever ❤️"
Henry's son, Adam Ellwood, posted on Facebook that his mother "passed peacefully" in her home in Los Angeles, Extra reported. He also said she died surrounded by her daughter Erin, her son Jeff Ellwood, and her hospice care nurse.
"Please raise a glass and a toast to our beautiful mother Gloria Henry for a life well lived," Adam wrote.
Born Gloria Eileen McEniry on April 2, 1923, in New Orleans, she moved to Los Angeles in her late teens and worked on radio shows and commercials using the stage name Gloria Henry. She made her screen debut in the 1947 horse racing film Sport of Kings and appeared in numerous B movies like Adventures in Silverado and Air Hostess, and Gene Autry westerns The Strawberry Roan and Riders in the Sky. Henry also had secondary roles in more well-regarded films like Miss Grant Takes Richmond starring Lucille Ball and William Holden, and Fritz Lang's Rancho Notorious, led by Marlene Dietrich.
In the '50s, Henry could be seen in TV shows like Perry Mason and The Files of Jeffrey Jones, but her starring role was as Dennis's warmhearted mother in the comedy series Dennis the Menace, based on the long-running comic strip. She appeared in all 146 episodes of its 1959-1963 run. Following its cancellation, she had small parts in classic series such as Newhart, Silver Spoons, Dallas, Mr. Belvedere, Doogie Howser, M.D., and more.
Her last film role was in 2005's Her Minor Thing, a comedy directed by Walter Matthau's son, Charles Matthau. Henry's last TV credit was in a 2012 episode of Parks and Recreation, but it was reportedly cut, making her appearance in a 1992 episode of Sisters her final part on the small screen.
Henry was married twice and had three children from her second marriage. On Friday, her daughter Erin shared a sweet birthday card from Dennis the Menace cartoonist Marcus Hamilton for Henry's 98th birthday.
"HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOMMA! It's been a rough month - we weren't sure if she would make it to 98, but she did!" Erin posted on Instagram. "And what a delightful surprise to receive this card from #dennisthemenace #cartoonist Marcus Hamilton! Thank you Marcus, you definitely put a smile on her face!"