Being a "voice" was nothing new for Bea Benederet, who was the vocal part of cavewoman Betty Rubble in ABC-TV's series "The Fllntstones," television's first fully animated cartoon tailored for adult tastes and slotted in prime time Friday nights.
Bea was famous for her sound long before most people knew what she looked like.
Remember Gertrude Gearshift, the screwball Brooklynese telephone operator of the old Jack Benny Radio show? That was Bea. It's a role, incidentally, which she also transferred to TV.
A veteran radio actress, Bea also enunciated such roles as Amber Lipscott in "My Friend Irma," Eve Goodwin in "The Great Glldersleeve," Mrs. Carstairs in "Fibber McGee and Molly," Mama in "Meet Millie" and Gloria, the maid in the radio version of "The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet".
Bea's face and form became best known to television as the result of her eight year stint as Blanche Morton, the neighbor of George and Oracle in "The George Burns and Grade Allen Show" and its brief successor, "The George Burns Show."
Born in New York City, Bea moved to San Francisco with her parents when she was 5. Her entry into show business occurred shortly thereafter with an appearance on an Oakland radio station.
At 12 she sang a role in a children's production of "The Beggar's Opera," was spotted by the manager of radio Station KGO, San Francisco, and became a kid vocalist on one of his programs.
After graduating from high school (St. Rose Academy), she attended the Reginald Travis School for acting in San Francisco and later performed with stock companies and little theatre groups. Then she joined station KFRC as a combination actress-singer-writer-producer-announcer.
In 1936 she decided to try Hollywood and network radio. It wasn't long before she was in groat demand because of her versatility with vocal accents and inflections. Jack Benny and Orson Welles gave her first breaks In Hollywood.
Bea had two children, Jack and Maggie, and lived with them in a ranch home in Tarzana, California.