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July 20 in Twilight Zone History: Remembering actress Mary LaRoche ('A World of His Own,' 'Living Doll') on the anniversary of her birth

Contributed by
Jul 20, 2018

Today, July 20th, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia remember actress Mary LaRoche, who was born on this day in 1920.

Mary first co-starred as a lovely figment of playwright Gregory West's productive imagination in the cool Richard Matheson episode "A World of His Own." She's absolutely charming.

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In "A World of His Own," playwright Gregory West (Keenan Wynn) summons up his version of the perfect woman - which, of course, is Mary (Mary LaRoche).

She returned to the Zone as Annabelle Streator, the wife of creepy Erich Streator (Telly Savalas), a brute of a stepfather who takes on a little doll named 'Talky Tina' in "Living Doll." One of the perplexing questions in all of the Zone is why she married him in the first place.

Mary LaRoche (1920-1999), a Maryland native who grew up in Rochester, New York, played a number of important mothers outside the Zone. She was Sandra Dee's mother in Gidget and she was Ann-Margret's mother in both Bye Bye Birdie and The Swinger. As I point out in my encyclopedia, a diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis forced her to retire from acting at 41.

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A truly odd couple: Annabelle Streator (Mary LaRoche) and her loathsome husband, Erich (Telly Savalas) in "Living Doll."

So, on this the anniversary of her birth, let's toast a genuine lady of the Zone who worked with complete opposites – the gentle Gregory West and the beastie Erich Streator – bringing her charms to the dimension where opposites thrive: The Twilight Zone.