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Florence Stanley (July 1, 1924 – October 3, 2003) was an American actress of stage, film, and television.

Early life and career

Florence Stanley was born as Florence Schwartz in Chicago, the daughter of Hanna (née Weil) and Jack Schwartz. [1] She began a long career on stage, film and TV starting in the 1940s. Her earliest theatrical performances include The Importance of Being Earnest with the Touring Players, Bury The Dead at New York's Cherry Lane Theatre, and Machinal.

During the 1950s, Stanley appeared in numerous live TV shows, and gave an acclaimed performance as Clytemnestra in the New York Shakespeare Festival's 1964 production of Electra, opposite Lee Grant, who played the title role. Stanley began her long career on Broadway as Maureen Stapleton's understudy in a 1965 revival of The Glass Menagerie.

In 1966 she took over the role of Yente in Broadway's Fiddler On The Roof from Beatrice Arthur, leaving in 1971 (after over 2,000 performances) to open in Neil Simon's The Prisoner of Second Avenue, directed by Mike Nichols. In 1972 she went on to tap dance in the Broadway production of The Secret Affairs Of Mildred Wild, and in 1981 went back to work for Neil Simon in the unsuccessful Broadway production of Fools.

Film roles

Her film roles began with Up the Down Staircase (which starred Sandy Dennis) in 1967. In 1973 she was asked by Mike Nichols to play a small role in his film The Day of the Dolphin. She recreated her role in the film version of Prisoner (1975), was again cast by Nichols for The Fortune (1975), which starred Warren Beatty and Jack Nicholson. She then went on to appear in the television series Joe and Sons for CBS in 1975; that same year Barney Miller producer Danny Arnold cast Stanley as Bernice Fish, the wife of Detective Fish (played by Abe Vigoda). After Barney Miller, Stanley recreated her role as Bernice Fish on the spinoff, Fish.

Later roles

She starred as Judge Wilbur on the TV series My Two Dads, and directed three episodes of the series. She made a guest appearance on the TV series Night Court where she played a judge called Judge Wilbur. She later played Dr. Amanda Riskin on Nurses, provided the voice for Grandma Ethyl Phillips on Dinosaurs and made guest appearances on such television series as The Golden Girls, Mad About You, Malcolm in the Middle, Mr. Belvedere, and Cybill. Later film roles include Trouble Bound (1993), Trapped In Paradise (1994), Bulworth (1998) and Down With Love (2003). Florence Stanley also played Thelma Griffin in Family Guy.

In 2001, she provided the voice of Wilhelmina Packard in Disney's 40th animated feature film, Atlantis: The Lost Empire, and the direct-to-video sequel, Atlantis: Milo's Return, in 2003, just months before her death.


On October 3, 2003, Stanley died of complications from a stroke at the age of 79. She was survived by her husband, Martin Newman, and their two children.[2]


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