We were so sad to hear a little while ago that Brett Somers died this weekend. I haven’t seen any obituaries yet but I’m sure, coming on the heels of Charles Nelson Reilly’s death, there will be plenty of hackneyed references to Brett joining Charles in that “Match Game in the Sky.” Still, it’s hard not to imagine Charles, newly robust in the afterlife, welcoming Brett with some fabulous sarcastic line (I can hear him deadpanning something like, “What took you so long?”) and the two of them catching up on all the Hollywood dirt. As I mentioned when Charles died, Brett was Kendall’s godmother and just last week Kendall’s mom unearthed some home movies of the Haileys at Brett’s house with Brett acting characteristically insane. I wish I could digitize that and include it here. I also wish I could show you the “Match Game” segment in which Brett wrote “Happy Birthday, Kendall!” on one of the cards and then explained to Gene Rayburn that it was her young friend’s birthday.
Why have so many hysterically funny people left us this year? Was there anyone better at doing what Brett did? I remember watching her on “The Match Game” and laughing until it hurt. It was all so real and good-natured and bawdy and fun. Even if some of their bits were planned, they always seemed so spontaneous. I enjoyed watching Brett Somers on “The Odd Couple” with her ex-husband Jack Klugman and I remember when she played Rhoda Morgenstern’s aunt on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Too bad she was rarely given the chance to sink her teeth into meaty dramatic roles, I bet she would have been superb.
Here are Brett and Charles appearing on CBS a few years ago talking about those crazy “Match Game” days.
Update: And now word comes just a few days later that actress Alice Ghostley has died, yet another talented friend of my wife's family. Ghostley starred in one of Kendall's dad's plays in the 1970s. Sigh. We last saw Alice at one of her famous Christmas parties at a wonderful Swiss restaurant in the Valley. She was a delight—generous, kind, and funny. As a kid I mostly knew her as the bumbling supernatural maid Esmeralda on "Bewitched" and she also made an impression in her short scenes in "The Graduate" with "Bewitched" castmate Marion Lorne. A few years ago Charles Nelson Reilly was asked where he got his trademark “huh-huh” noise. He said, “I stole it from Paul Lynde, who stole it from Alice Ghostley.”