Eleanor Audley (Eleanor Zellman)

Eleanor Audley

Eleanor Audley

Beginning as a radio actress, she worked extensively in the 1940s and 50s in Hollywood on such shows as Escape, Suspense and the radio versions of My Favorite Husband (as mother-in-law Mrs. Cooper), The Story of Dr. Kildare (as receptionist Molly Byrd), and Father Knows Best (as one of the Anderson family’s neighbors). In 1953, Eleanor Audley played the stepmother in a re-imagining of the Cinderella story for The Six Shooter starring James Stewart.  In the animated film industry Eleanor Audley was best known for giving her distinctive, powerful voice to the evil stepmother with gray hair, Lady Tremaine, Cinderella’s evil stepmother, in the Disney animated film Cinderella, and the evil fairy Maleficent in Disney’s Sleeping Beauty. For these films, animators Frank Thomas and Marc Davis made the characters’ facial features and expressions resemble Audley. Audley initially turned down the choice role of Maleficent because she was battling tuberculosis. She also provided the voice of Madame Leota in the Haunted Mansion attractions in Disneyland and Walt Disney World, speaking the memorable lines, “Rap on a table. It’s time to respond. Send us a message from somewhere beyond!”  Beginning in the mid-1950s, she appeared constantly on television, including episodes of I Love Lucy, Crossroads, The People’s Choice, Richard Diamond, Private Detective, Perry Mason, Dennis the Menace, Hazel, Pete and Gladys, The Real McCoys, The Twilight Zone, Mr. Lucky, and The Dick Van Dyke Show. She was a series regular as Oliver Douglas’s disapproving mother on Green Acres (although she was only five months older than actor Eddie Albert, who played her son). She also played Millicent Schuyler-Potts, the headmistress of the Potts School which Jethro Bodine attended in The Beverly Hillbillies.

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  • November, 19, 1905
  • New York, New York


  • November, 25, 1991
  • North Hollywood, California

Cause of Death

  • respiratory failure


  • Mount Sinai Memorial Park
  • Los Angeles, California

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