Three's Company's Actress Ann Wedgeworth Dies at 83

Posted 2017/11/20 0 0

The actress has passed away in her home in New York City on November 16, 2017.


Actress Ann Wedgeworth, who gained fame on film and Broadway before taking on the role of a flirty divorcee on Three's Company, died Thursday following a lengthy illness at a New York area nursing home, her family has announced. She was 83.

Wedgeworth, a Tony-winning stage star, had memorable runs in Another World, Filthy Rich, Evening Shade and its spin-off Harlan & Merleen. Perhaps she is best known for the TV sitcom Three's Comedy, where she played Lana Shields, an older woman with her eyes set on her young neighbor Jack, played by John Ritter. The character was introduced to fill the void left by Audra Lindley, who had left to star in the show's spin-off, The Ropers. But when the writers had Ritter rebuff her advances, he argued it was out of his character, causing tension between him and the team. With her role dwindling, Wedgeworth later claimed she asked to be released from her contract; she was written out of the show after just nine episodes later without any explanation, and never referred to again.

After “Three’s Company,” Wedgeworth went on to star in CBS’s “Evening Shade” starting in 1989, which was her longest role. She played Merleen Eldridge, the wife of small town doctor Harlan Eldrige. The couple was best friends with Burt Reynolds and Marilu Henner’s Wood and Ava Newton, who move back to the small town of Evening Shade, Ark. after Wood quits professional football due to an injury.

Wedgeworth married actor Rip Torn and the couple had a daughter, Danae Torn, before ending their five-year marriage in 1961. Wedgeworth later married acting teacher Ernest Martin and had her second daughter, Martin. Survivors include her husband, her two daughters and stepsons Michael Martin and Greg Martin.