Bernadette Withers was an actress best known for playing Ginger on Bachelor Father, Janis on Karen, and Valerie in The Trouble with Angels. She died in Dana Point, California, on October 25, 2019, at the age of 73. But what was the cause of her death? And what was her life and career like? Here are some facts and details about the late actress.
Early Life and Career
Bernadette Withers was born on February 5, 1946, in Los Angeles, California. She began acting in small uncredited film roles as a child, such as a child at an audition in I’ll Cry Tomorrow (1955), and parts in Stranger at My Door (1956) and All Fall Down (1962). She also appeared in numerous television series, such as Leave it to Beaver, Wagon Train, Buffalo Bill, Jr., Father Knows Best, My Three Sons, and The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. According to Wikipedia, some sources claim that actress Jane Withers was her aunt, but since Jane Withers had no siblings, she did not have any nieces.
Withers gained more recognition when she landed the recurring role of Ginger, Kelly’s best friend, in Bachelor Father, which starred John Forsythe as a single lawyer raising his niece. The show ran for five seasons from 1957 to 1962, and Withers’ character had two different sets of parents and three last names during the course of the series. In 1964, she had another recurring role as Janis, the best friend of the titular character, in Karen, a sitcom about a teenage girl and her family. In 1966, she played Valerie, one of the rebellious students at a Catholic boarding school, in The Trouble with Angels, a comedy film starring Hayley Mills and Rosalind Russell.
Later Life and Career
After her acting career ended, Withers became a partner in a software company. She was married twice, and had two children. She lived in Texas to be closer to her family, according to a Facebook post by A Minor Consideration, a non-profit organization that supports former child actors. She died in Dana Point, California, on October 25, 2019, after a brief illness, according to IMDb. She was 73 years old.
Legacy and Tributes
Withers was remembered by her fans and friends as a talented, smart, and fun-loving person. Paul Petersen, the founder of A Minor Consideration and a former child actor himself, wrote a tribute to her on Facebook, calling her “a force of nature” and “smarter than the average bear”. He also mentioned her fields of conquest, from acting to data processing to Oracle. Kathy Garver, who co-starred with Withers in The Trouble with Angels, also expressed her condolences on Facebook, saying that she was “shocked and saddened” by her passing. She praised her as a “wonderful actress” and a “great friend”. Withers’ fans also shared their memories and appreciation of her on social media, saying that they enjoyed her performances and that she will be missed.