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Audra Lindley
461px-Audra Lindley 1975
Audra Lindley, shown here in a 1975 publicity photo for the film Fay, appeared as Helen Roper on both Three's Company and its spinoff The Ropers.
Personal Information
Birth name: Audra Marie Lindley
Born: (1918-09-24)24 September 1918
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California
Died 16 October 1997(1997-10-16) (aged 79)
Deathplace: Los Angeles, California
Career/Family Information
Occupation/
Career:
Actress
Years active: 1941 to 1997, her death
Spouse(s): Hardy Ulm (1943-1960)
James Whitmore (1972-1979)
Children: Elizabeth Blalock
Alice Ulm
William Ulm
Character information
Appeared on: Three's Company and The Ropers
Character played: Mrs. Roper
Three's Company Script

Audra Marie Lindley (24 September 1918 – 16 October 1997) became famous for her role as landlady Helen Roper on the ABC-TV sitcom Three's Company and its spin-off, The Ropers.

Career

Born in Los Angeles, Audra was born the daughter of show business parents. She got her early start in Hollywood by being a stand-in, which eventually progressed to stunt work. Nothing panned out, and she went to New York in her mid-20s to work in theater. Among her many Broadway theatre plays were On Golden Pond, Long Day's Journey into Night, and Horse Heavens. She began to make steady appearances on television, including the role of Sue Knowles on the CBS-TV soap opera Search for Tomorrow, and a six-year stint as manipulative "Aunt Liz" Matthews on the NBC-TV soap opera Another World. She also had regular roles as Meredith Baxter's mother in the sitcom Bridget Loves Bernie (1973), as well as Lee Grant’s best friend in Fay (1975).

Her greatest fame arrived when she began playing the wisecracking, perpetually unfulfilled and sexually frustrated Helen Roper on the hit sitcom Three's Company (1977) where she wore a wig to maintain the character’s exaggerated hairstyle. The character and her husband, Stanley (played by Norman Fell), were spun off to their own show, The Ropers (1979), which was not a success. Lindley continued to appear steadily on television and in film, such as Revenge of the Stepford Wives in 1980 and as Fauna, the owner of the "Bear Flag Restaurant," a Monterey, CA brothel portrayed in the 1982 film Cannery Row. In 1982, she appeared in the film Best Friends starring Goldie Hawn and Burt Reynolds.

One of her last roles was a character part in the lesbian-themed film Desert Hearts (1985). She also appeared in 1989's Troop Beverly Hills as outspoken director of the Wilderness Girls.

Lindley garnered further parts of all sizes in various TV films and series, including playing Phoebe Buffay's grandmother on Friends, and her last, a recurring role as Cybill Shepherd's mother on the CBS-TV sitcom series Cybill. (She had previously played Shepherd's mother in the 1972 film The Heartbreak Kid.)

Personal

Audra was married to and divorced from Dr. Hardy Ulm (1943–1960). She later married and divorced James Whitmore (1972–1979).[1] Audra died of leukemia 16 October 1997, at Cedars Sinai Medical Center.

References