Beatrice Colen, known as the car-hop on roller skates at Arnold's Malt Shop on TV's "Happy Days," and as the "Wonder Woman" sidekick, Etta Candy, died of lung cancer at Los Angeles' Cedar Sinai Hospital Nov. 18. Ms. Colen was 51.
An actress on stage and television in her own right, Ms. Colen was also the granddaughter of Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, George S. Kaufman, and the daughter of Anne Kaufman Schneider.
Ms. Colen's stage appearances include Peter Parnell's Romance Language at Los Angeles' Mark Taper Forum. Her films include Mel Brooks' "High Anxiety" and Ralph Bakshi's "American Pop." She studied for two years at the HB Studios in New York under Uta Hagen.
Ms. Colen appeared in over 200 television shows, commercials and films. A personal favorite of hers was the award-winning Alka-Seltzer commercial in which she was the first to sing "Plop, Plop, Fizz, Fizz," wearing a huge pink feather boa.
For a memorable episode of "All In the Family," Ms. Colen played a nurse who kicks Archie Bunker in his rear end saying, "Don't worry, Mr. Bunker...to me, it's just another face in the crowd." Beatrice Colen is survived by her husband, actor Patrick Cronin, and two teenage sons, James and Charles, all of Los Angeles, and her mother, Anne Kaufman Schneider of New York City.
Shortly before she died, Ms. Colen spoke to her teenage son, James, who was scheduled to open in a school production of his great grandfather's play, The Man Who Came to Dinner. "No matter what happens," Ms. Colen told her son, "I want you to be onstage opening night."
The Man Who Came to Dinner opened Nov. 18, the day Beatrice Colen passed away. James Cronin honored his mother's request and performed as scheduled.
La Jolla Playhouse's Joshua Ellis, a close family friend told Playbill On Line that in lieu of flowers, donations in her name can be made to The Motion Picture and Television Fund, 22212 Ventura Blvd., Suite 300, Woodland Hills, CA 91364-1530. A public memorial service will take place Nov. 28 at 3 PM, at St. James Church, 3903 Wilshire Blvd., in Los Angeles.
-- By Murdoch McBride