It was a hard weekend for famous TV legends, but one we were definitely not ready for was the loss of actress Ann Wedgeworth. The former star passed away peacefully surrounded by close family members at a nursing home in New York she had been residing in for some time.
A Texas native, Wedgeworth rose to fame by performing in a series of Broadway productions, with her debut in Make A Million in 1958 at the age of 24. She would continue her theater appearances for the next fifteen years, winning a Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play, in Neil Simon's Chapter Two.
After a successful career on Broadway, the actress began starring in major roles for popular daytime soap operas. Her appearances in The Edge of Night, Another World, and spin-off series Somerset gave her the experience to take on more complex roles.
However, it wasn't until she was cast into the widely popular ABC sitcom Three's Company that her name became headline worthy. It was also here that she got her first taste of showbiz drama!
Wedgeworth's character in Three's Company was Lana Shields, a divorcee that would try to seduce leading man Jack Tripper, played by John Ritter.
Ritter ended up getting into quarrels with the show's writers for their intended plot device between the actor and actress. The writers believed that Jack Tripper would be repulsed by the advances of an older woman, however Ritter believed the opposite. Eventually, Wedgeworth's character was simply removed from the show without mention.
She ended up landing a four year role as a main character in the CBS sitcom Evening Shade.
Wedgeworth married twice, her second husband (director Ernie Martin) and her having an immediate attraction - he proposed on the very first date! She said, "He’s so good to me. He’s a Sagittarius — fire — and I’m air."
After battling a longtime illness, Wedgeworth finally succumbed. She is survived by her husband and two daughters.