Billie Hayes, Actress Who Played Witchiepoo in ‘H.R. Pufnstuf,’ Dies at 96
Billie Hayes, best known for playing Wilhelmina W. Witchiepoo in the popular 1969 children’s show H.R. Pufnstuf, has passed away at age 96.
Hayes family announced that the actress died April 29 of natural causes at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. She is survived by her niece, Nancy, and nephews Tom, Louie, and Guy.
Born on Aug. 5, 1924, in DuQuoin, Illinois, Hayes had a long and varied career, starting out as a singing and dancing act throughout the Midwest before breaking onto Broadway in the late 1950s, appearing in Leonard Sillman’s New Faces of 1956 and the hit musical Li’l Abner.
The veteran star transitioned to television in the 1960s, featuring in shows such as The Monkees, Bewitched, and General Hospital. However, it was her role as the evil, cackling witch in H.R. Pufnstuf from 1969-70 that fans came to remember most fondly.
Hayes was also a lover of animals and founded the animal rescue organization Pet Hope in 1984 to help care for and rehome abandoned animals.