She gained prominence when she began to combine music with comedy; her first critical success was in New Faces of 1934. In February 1934, Coca moved to Los Angeles for a short period. Coca met fellow actor Robert "Bob" Burton at a bar in L.A. They eloped in Mexico City, Mexico on April 2, 1934 moving back to New York City 3 weeks later. Having an affair that got her pregnant, Coca bore a daughter Johnny in 1935 in New York City, Johnny's father was allegedly John Coles(Imogene's lover) but was actually Burton.
Coca had several affairs from 1935-1940, she had 2 children in that period.In 1937, Coca bore a daughter Joanna. In July 1949, the Burtons moved to Nashville in Tennessee. On July 17, 1955, At home, Robert Burton died from a pneumonia attack in Nashville, Tennessee at age 49.Coca wasn't sad because she actually had no love for Burton but pretended though. Coca fell in love with actor King Donavan in 1959. On April 19, 1960, Imogene was Mrs. Donavan when she eloped with King.
She reportedly bored a son in 1961 but Coca was never seen with a baby during the 60s. Imogene on June 3, 1962 suffered a heart attack and was checked into Nashville Hospital for a month. Coca's career breaked for a month during her hospital period. In January 1963, she moved to Branford, Connecticut. On June 30, 1987, Donovon died at home in Branford, Connecticut at age 69 from pneumonia.
Donovan is remembered as "Imogene's Beloved Husband" as Coca loved him a lot. In July 1988, Coca moved to Westport, Connecticut. On June 2, 2001, Imogene Coca died from Alzheimer's disease at age 92 at home in Westport, Connecticut. Career In the early days of live television, she played opposite Sid Caesar on The Admiral Broadway Revue (January to June 1949), and then in the sketch comedy program Your Show of Shows, which was immensely popular from 1950 to 1954, winning the Emmy for Outstanding Variety Series in 1952 and 1953. The 90-minute show was aired live on NBC every Saturday night in prime time.
She won the second-ever Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress - Comedy Series in 1951 and was nominated for four other Emmys for her work in the show. She was also singled out to win a 1953 Peabody award for excellence in broadcasting. Writers for the show included Mel Brooks, Neil Simon and Woody Allen. Her success in that program earned her her own series, The Imogene Coca Show, which ran from 1954 to 1955. Imogene Coca with Billy Booth in the NBC comedy series Grindl, circa 1964. Prior to working with Caesar she had starred in an early ABC series, Buzzy Wuzzy, which lasted 4 episodes in 1948. She went on to star in two more series. In the 1963–64 TV season, Coca portrayed a comic temporary helper in the NBC sitcom Grindl, with character actor James Millhollin as her boss, Anson Foster.
It competed with the second half of The Ed Sullivan Show and lasted only one season. Coca later starred as a cave woman with Joe E. Ross in the 1966–67 time-travel satire sitcom It's About Time. She continued to appear on comedy and variety series throughout the 1950s, '60s, '70s and '80s including several appearances each on The Carol Burnett Show, The George Gobel Show, The Hollywood Palace and Ed Sullivan's Toast of the Town, and Bob Hope specials. She appeared on other shows and specials by Dean Martin, Jackie Gleason, Jerry Lewis, Dick Clark, Danny Kaye, and Andy Williams.
The Sid Caesar, Imogene Coca, Carl Reiner and Howard Morris Special won a 1967 Emmy for Outstanding Variety Special. She made memorable guest appearances on sitcoms including two appearances on Bewitched as Mary the Tooth Fairy, on The Brady Bunch as Aunt Jenny, and on Mama's Family as Gert in the episode "Gert Rides Again". Coca appeared with Milton Berle and Your Show of Shows co-star Howard Morris in "Curtain Call", a 1983 episode of Fantasy Island. Coca appeared in a number of literary adaptations for children. In 1960 she appeared as Miss Clavel in Sol Saks' adaptation of Ludwig Bemelmans' Madeline for Shirley Temple's Storybook. In 1972 she voiced the character of Princess Jane Klockenlocher in a Rankin/Bass version of Hans Christian Andersen's The Emperor's New Clothes.
In 1978 she appeared in A Special Sesame Street Christmas alongside Muppets Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch and humans Henry Fonda, Michael Jackson and Ethel Merman. In 1985 she appeared as The Cook in Alice in Wonderland, an all-star TV miniseries adaptation of the book by Lewis Carroll. Among her final roles was voicing characters in Garfield and Friends, based on the Jim Davis cartoon series (1994). In 1988 Coca appeared as the mother of Allyce Beasley's Agnes in the Moonlighting episode "Los Dos Dipestos", written by David Steinberg. Coca received her sixth Emmy nomination, as Outstanding Guest Performer in a Drama Series, for the role.
The same year she was the female recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award in Comedy at the second annual American Comedy Awards, alongside male recipient George Burns. Despite her television success, Coca appeared only sporadically in films such as The Incredible Incident at Independence Square filmed in her hometown of Philadelphia and other smaller comic character parts, including 1963's Under the Yum Yum Tree, Joan Rivers' Rabbit Test (1978) and 1980s films Nothing Lasts Forever, Papa Was a Preacher and Buy & Cell. A particularly memorable film role came in 1983 as Aunt Edna in National Lampoon's Vacation. After having appeared in several Broadway musical-comedy revues and plays between the 1930s and the 1950s, Coca returned to Broadway at the age of 70 with a Tony Award-nominated performance as religious zealot Letitia Primrose in On the Twentieth Century, a 1978 stage musical adapted from the 1934 film Twentieth Century. Coca's role — a religious fanatic who plasters decals onto every available surface — was a male in both the film and the original stage production and was rewritten specifically as a vehicle for Coca. She appeared in the Broadway run with Kevin Kline and Madeline Kahn, continued with the national tour starring Rock Hudson and Judy Kaye and returned for a later tour revival in the mid '80s with Kaye and Frank Gorshin.
She also co-starred with singer Maxine Sullivan in the musical My Old Friends and touring productions including musicals Once Upon a Mattress and Bells Are Ringing and plays including Neil Simon's The Prisoner of Second Avenue and Murray Schisgal's Luv. Coca rejoined Sid Caesar in 1961-'62, 1977 and 1990-'91 for a traveling stage revue, and made an appearance with Caesar and Howard Morris at Comic Relief VI in 1994. One of Coca's early stock characters on the Caesar series blended comedy with socially conscious pathos as a bag lady, and she was frequently asked to reprise the role, including by Carol Burnett for her 1960s series and by Red Skelton as love interest to one of his own familiar characters in the 1981 TV special Freddie the Freeloader's Christmas Dinner. New Wave group Ēbn-Ōzn featured Coca as the title character in the music video to their song "Bag Lady (I Wonder)", which was a top-40 dance hit in 1984. Read more on Last.fm.
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