Gloria Henry, who famously played Dennis Mitchell's mother on the beloved 1960s sitcom Dennis the Menace, died on Saturday. She was 98. Henry's acting career stretched back to 1947, with her making one last appearance on television in a 2012 episode of Parks and Recreation.
Henry died in her Los Angeles home one day after she celebrated her 98th birthday, her daughter, Erin, told The Hollywood Reporter. She was married twice, first to Robert D. Lamb from 1943 to 1948, and then to Craig Ellwood from 1949 until 1977. They had three children, Jeffrey, Adam, and Erin.
Dennis the Menace made Henry a presence in American households for decades. Although the show only ran four seasons from 1959 to 1963, repeats of the show aired for years afterward as 146 episodes were produced. Henry played Alice Mitchell, alongside Herbert Anderson as Dennis' father Henry Mitchell. Jay North starred as Dennis on the Screen Gems show inspired by the Hank Ketcham comic book character.
Although Henry did not participate in later Dennis the Menace incarnations, she remained popular with fans. "Many of the fans say, 'Oh, I always wished you were my mom' and 'My mom was jealous of you because I wanted you for a mom,'" Henry told NJ.com in 2011. "Which is pretty funny, because I don't think my own children felt that way."
Henry's career in Hollywood started in 1947, when she starred in Sport of Kings, Keeper of the Bees and Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back. Other notable pre-Dennis roles on her resume included The Strawberry Roan (1948), Riders in the Sky (1949), and Kill the Umpire (1950). In Miss Grant Takes Richmond (1949), she worked with Lucille Ball and William Holden. In 1952, she had a role in Fritz Lang's Western Rancho Notorious, which starred Marlene Dietrich.
The New Orleans-born Henry turned to television in the 1950s, starring in The Abbott and Costello Show, My Little Margie, Father Knows Best, and Perry Mason. In the 1980s, she appeared in episodes of Simon & Simon, Newhart, Silver Spoons, Easy Street, and Dallas. She played Ilene O'Brien in two episodes of Doogie Howser, M.D. in 1990 and 1991. Her last role was as Mary-Elizabeth Clinch in the Parks and Recreation episode "Campaign Shake-Up."