Beverly Hills, CA

Carole Cook, Veteran ‘Sixteen Candles’ Actress, Dies at 98

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Carole CookPhoto byGetty via Metro

Carole Cook, the ‘Sixteen Candles’ star actress, has passed away. The veteran actress died of heart failure in Beverly Hills, California, on the afternoon of January 11, just three days before her 99th birthday, USA TODAY has reported. She died at the age of 98.

According to a statement from her agent, Robert Malcolm, Carole Cook, a veteran actress well-known for her work on stage and screen, including the 1984 John Hughes comedy "Sixteen Candles," has passed away. She was 98 years old.

Malcolm told CNN via email that Cook died "peacefully" on Wednesday from heart failure.

Cook had over 60 screen credits in addition to a distinguished stage career, where she created the character of Maggie Jones in the 1980 Broadway musical "42nd Street."

Lucille Ball, the late comedy legend, and Cook were close friends. Ball suggested that she adopt the name Carole in honor of Carole Lombard, a famous actress.

Cook explained to Queer Voices in 2019: "I had no place to live in California, so I lived in Lucy's guesthouse until I got settled." She changed my name. I was born Mildred Frances Cook but Lucy didn’t think it was a good show business name. She gave me the name Carole after Carole Lombard. Lucy said to me, ‘You have the same healthy disrespect for everything in general, just like Lombard.’"

Cook had a close friendship with Lucille Ball, the late comedy icon. Ball recommended she take the name Carole after film star Carole Lombard, telling Cook that, "like her, you have the same healthy disrespect for all things in general."

Cook, who was performing in theater in Ohio, was brought to Hollywood by the "I Love Lucy" star so she could take part in Ball's musical revue at the DESILU theater.

During a 1965 appearance with Cook on the game show "Password," Ball remarked, "We've been friends for a several years."

Cook was a vocal supporter of organizations that fight HIV/AIDS. The Broadway star performed every year at San Francisco's "Help Is On The Way" benefit, an organization honoring the founders' sons who passed away from the virus. The Broadway star spent more than 30 years working with S.T.A.G.E. LA, a musical theater benefit for HIV/AIDS.

The actress expressed her desire to be remembered as "someone who brought a little difference to people's lives for the good" to BroadwayWorld.com in 2015. She said: "We all want to be beloved, and that would be nice. I’d like for them to think, "I’m glad I knew her"."

Born on January 14, 1924, in Abilene, Texas, United States, as Mildred Frances Cook and professionally known as Carole Cook, she was an American actress active on screen and stage. She was best known for her appearances on Lucille Ball's light entertainment comedy television series, "The Lucy Show" and "Here's Lucy".

Left to survive Cook is her husband, Tom Troupe.

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