Susan Tolsky Dies: ‘Here Come the Brides’ Actress Was 79

Susan Tolsky
Everett Collection

Veteran comic character actress Susan Tolsky, best known for playing Biddie Cloom on the ABC comedy Western series Here Come the Brides, has died. She was 79.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Tolsky passed away on Sunday, October 9, at her Toluca Lake home in Los Angeles, California, as confirmed by her sister. A funeral service was held Monday, October 31, at the Angeleno Valley Mortuary in North Hollywood.

Born on April 6, 1943, in Houston, Texas, Tolsky became interested in comedy and acting from a young age. She also had a fascination with the field of medicine and enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin to major in nursing. However, she quit during her second year of pre-medical and transferred to the Department of Drama, switching her major to theater and English.

In her senior year, she was scouted by casting director Eddie Foy III, who advised her to try acting in Hollywood, where she moved following her graduation. In 1968, Tolsky made her TV debut on an episode of The Second Hundred Years, followed by a small role on an episode of Bewitched, both on ABC.

She went on to become a series regular in the ABC comedy Here Come the Brides, loosely based on the Mercer Girls, who were brought from the East Coast to Seattle in the 1860s to work as teachers. Tolsky’s character was a fan favorite on the show, which ran for two seasons between 1968 and 1970.

Tolsky also played the secretary of a high school football coach (Rock Hudson) in Roger Vadim’s Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971) and was a regular on The New Bill Cosby Show from 1972-73. And, from 1982-83, she portrayed Van Gilder on the first-run syndicated sitcom Madame’s Place.

Her later work mostly involved voice acting, working on shows such as Foofur, Bobby’s World, Cow and Chicken, Darkwing Duck, Pepper Ann, and The Buzz on Maggie.