• R.I.P. Billie Hayes ("H.R. Pufnstuf", various animation voices)

    From Your Name@21:1/5 to All on Tue May 4 15:45:25 2021
    From Variety.com ...

    Billie Hayes, Witchiepoo in 'H.R. Pufnstuf,' Dies at 96
    Billie Hayes, the actor who portrayed Witchiepoo on NBC's
    "H.R. Pufnstuf," has died. She was 96.

    Hayes' death was announced on her official website.

    Hayes is best known for her portrayal of the comical witch
    Witchiepoo on Sid and Marty Krofft's show "H.R. Pufnstuf"
    from 1969 to 1970. From there, Hayes reappeared as
    Witchiepoo on "The Paul Lynde Halloween Special" and the
    series finale of "The Banana Splits Adventure Hour." Hayes
    also appeared as a witch in several other shows, including
    "Bewitched," "Weenie the Genie," "The Monkees" and

    Marty Krofft paid tribute to Hayes in a statement to 
    Variety: "In addition to being a very talented and special
    person, Margret Hamilton (Wicked Witch of the West/'Wizard
    of Oz') once told me that Witchiepoo was the best witch
    ever. And as far as I'm concerned, there was no one better
    than Billie Hayes. She was a home run for us and
    'H.R Pufnstuf.'"

    Hayes is also well-known for her theater work, including
    starring as Mammy Yokum in the original 1956 Broadway
    production of "Li'l Abner," as well as the 1959 film
    adaptation and a 1971 TV special.

    Born in DuQuoin, Illinois in 1925, Hayes started in the
    entertainment business at the young age of nine as a
    dancer, and continued to perform as a teenager in Chicago
    before moving to New York City. But Hayes' acting career
    didn't begin until she went on a blind audition for theater
    legend J.J. Shubert.

    "At a chance encounter in New York Billie was urged to go
    to an audition. She went not knowing who or what she was
    auditioning for," the statement on Hayes' website reads.
    "Already a seasoned nightclub performer she danced and sang
    routines she had choreographed. In the dark and otherwise
    empty theatre there were only a few people seated. Billie
    first heard a chuckle then laughter. It was the legendary
    J.J. Shubert."

    From there, Hayes began working in theater, appearing in the
    revue "What's New With Paul Lynde" and in Leonard Sillman's
    "New Faces." After moving to Los Angeles, Hayes began to
    pursue a career in television, leading to her role in
    "H.R. Pufnstuf." In the 1980s, Hayes appeared on "General
    Hospital" as O'Reilly and pivoted more to voice work,
    including "The Nightmare Before Christmas," "Johnny Bravo,"
    "The Batman," "Rugrats" and "Shrek Forever After."

    Later in life, Hayes also became the president of Pet Hope,
    a non-profit animal advocacy organization dedicated to
    finding homes for abandoned animals. Donations in her memory
    can be made here.


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