Sheree North, who aged gracefully from a platinum blond bombshell in the 1950s to older character roles in television productions including "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and "Seinfeld," has died. She was 72.
North died Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center of complications from surgery, said her daughter.
North — born Dawn Bethel — initially was groomed as a glamour girl who could substitute for the often unreliable Marilyn Monroe, and did in fact replace Monroe in the 1955 film "How to Be Very, Very Popular."
Her breakout role, which she got after an agent saw her dancing at a nightclub, came in the Broadway musical "Hazel Flagg." She won a Theatre World award for that performance and repeated it in "Living It Up," the 1954 Dean Martin-Jerry Lewis musical comedy film version of the stage show.
North achieved leading lady status after getting rave reviews in the first episode of "The Bing Crosby Show" that same year.
Her decades-long film career included performances in "The Outfit" with Robert Duvall in 1973, "The Shootist" starring John Wayne in 1976 and "Defenseless" in 1991 with Barbara Hershey and Sam Shepard.
But she may have been best known for her prolific television work, in which she earned Emmy nominations for appearances on "Marcus Welby, M.D." and "Archie Bunker's Place."
More recently, she had a recurring role in "Seinfeld" as the character Kramer's mother, Babs.