Elmarie Wendel, the actress who banked an unforgettable run on NBC’s classic sci-fi sitcom, 3rd Rock from the Sun, has died at the age of 89, as confirmed by her daughter, actress J.C. Wendel.
While Elmarie Wendel experienced success on the stage, both on and off Broadway, her onscreen acting career was sporadic, fielding TV guest spots throughout the 80s and 90s on shows like Knight Rider, The Jeffersons, Murphy Brown and Seinfeld, as well as a few film roles, notably the 1995 comedy-horror film, Rumpelstiltskin.
However, mainstream recognition would arrive for Wendel after she landed on 3rd Rock from the Sun to play the role of Mrs. Dubcek, the vivacious young-at-heart landlady to the show’s covert extraterrestrial Solomon family. The role would last the show’s entire 1996-2001 duration, eventually expanded in Season 2 when the show added distinguished SNL alum Jan Hooks (who passed away back in 2014,) as Dubcek’s daughter, Vicki, who became a love interest for French Stewart’s Harry Solomon.
Wendel parlayed her 3rd Rock success to subsequent TV runs on NYPD Blue, George Lopez and General Hospital. In recent years, she’s fielded some voice roles, notably in Illumination Entertainment’s 2012 adaptation of Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax and, in her final performance, in Bethesda Game Studios’ 2015 video game, Fallout 4.
As Beaver lovingly recalls of Wendel, “She was raucous, funny, endearing, and terribly, terribly sweet. Goodnight, Mrs. Dubcek, wherever you are.”
…There’s no sense in trying to top that one. RIP Elmarie Wendel.