Hazel : Shirley Booth….DIVA?!?!

Shirley Booth….DIVA?!?!

Meredith Baxter writes that Whitney Blake, her mother, was not happy on the set of Hazel and felt that La Booth had a lot to do with her character being minimizedeven down to her costumes becoming more drab after the first season.
Apparently Whitney felt Booth was jealous of her.

Dammit Carol Sue, where is the vodka?!

Re: Shirley Booth….DIVA?!?!

That could have been true - but Shirley Booth was the star of the show and I suppose she didn't want her screen time taken away by a pretty young woman.

Re: Shirley Booth….DIVA?!?!

That's not terribly surprising. Actors and actresses are notoriously insecure and competitive. Successful actors don't always get to the top by being nice to everyone and making sure everyone gets equal screen time.

People sometimes mix up the character an actor plays with the person. While I'm sure Booth was nice, she wasn't Hazel. I suppose Booth was within her right to make sure her character was the focus - the show was about her character after all.

Re: Shirley Booth….DIVA?!?!

You're right - people often seem to think that actors are similar to the characters they play. Often that's not true. For example Andy Griffith said that Frances Bavier who played Aunt Bea disliked him for some reason and was cold and unfriendly to him offscreen. It's hard to imagine her not sweet Aunt Bea, but she was an actress and that was just a character she played.

Re: Shirley Booth….DIVA?!?!

Untrue. Shirley Booth was well-known as a no-nonsense pro. Whitney Blake, on the other hand, was an insecure, neurotic basket case. Read Meredith's book - she sounds like an awful person.

Re: Shirley Booth….DIVA?!?!

Amen. Baxter wrote that Whitney Blake wouldn't let her or her siblings call her "Mom" for fear of damaging her glamorous young facade. Meredith doesn't say she thinks Whitney's allegations against Shirley are false (I wish she had given her opinion) but I would guess that Whitney was just being difficult. She sure always looked pretty on HAZEL and Shirley often looked dowdy. I doubt Shirley tried to frump Whitney up. With Shirley's talent she had nothing to fear from ANYONE. I wonder if she knew how Whitney felt. This might have been one reason that "Missy got dumped from the series after season four.

Re: Shirley Booth….DIVA?!?!

I think it's been established that Whitney Blake and Don DeFore were not "dumped" because of Booth. It had everything to do with the show being picked up by a different network and budgetary issues. Shows are often retooled if they're picked up by a different network. I also doubt Shirley Booth was petty enough to exact revenge on Whitney Blake and cut Don DeFore off at the knees in the process.

I don't think Blake was an awful person, just terribly insecure. One would be hard pressed to find an actress or anyone whose livelihood depends on their looks and sex appeal who isn't narcissistic and self absorbed. She may have been the type of person who always saw slights when there were none. Then again, maybe Booth did do things to mess with her.

Re: Shirley Booth….DIVA?!?!

To think that Shirley would be jealous of an actress 30 years younger than her is just ridiculous. The show went downhill fast after Don & Whitney were let go though. I was thinking of buying season 5 (after owning seasons 1-4) but I quickly changed my mind after re-seeing a few season 5 episodes. They're just the typical dreck of mid-60s TV.

Ladies and gentlemen, here he is Mr. Warmth himself, the one, the only - Mr. Don Rickles!

Re: Shirley Booth….DIVA?!?!

hazel was just one of many shows that went on at least 1yr too long.

Re: Shirley Booth….DIVA?!?!

However neurotic Miss Blake may have been, she still could have been right. Lucille Ball made sure that Vivian Vance stayed 20 pounds above her normal weight and always had clothes that were less attractive and frumpier than anything she wore on the show, when they were doing I Love Lucy. So it is possible that Shirley Booth did something similar, but since she isn't here to defend herself, we'll never know.

Re: Shirley Booth….DIVA?!?!

I read that Don DeFore and Whitney Blake were wanting a pay raise to continue with the series. When the series was sold to CBS for season 5, CBS refused to pay them what they they thought they were worth and opted to replace them.

The show did well in the ratings on CBS and was going to be renewed for a 6th year, but Shirley's health was declining and gathered the cast to break the news that she couldn't continue. Lynn Borden said Shirley and everyone was in tears that they had to end the show. Lynn said she was so excited to come to work everyday and then to have it end was heartbreaking for her.

Re: Shirley Booth….DIVA?!?!

I don't think looks had anything to do with the departure of Whitney Blake. Lynn Borden was also a beautiful woman, who was very well dressed. As it's been stated previously, it was about bringing in a younger couple, and trying to save money.

Re: Shirley Booth….DIVA?!?!

The rumor was 10 lbs & both Vance & Ball later said it was untrue.
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