Helene Heigh, a character actress most recently seen in the film "Mass Appeal" and for years prior to that a frequent guest on episodic television, died Friday in a Silver Lake convalescent home.
Her longtime companion, Ronald Morse, said the versatile stage, film and TV actress was 86 and had recently suffered a stroke.
From her appearances on Broadway with Eva Le Gallienne and Joseph Schildkraut to her role as the grandmother-socialite in "Mass Appeal" she played a series of shopkeepers, servants and senile matriarchs in a career that ranged over six decades.
A graduate of the Pasadena Playhouse, she later taught acting and operated her own public relations agency in Los Angeles.
Over the years she was seen regularly in such long-lasting TV series as "Laverne and Shirley," "WKRP in Cincinnati," "The Perry Mason Show," "The Jack Benny Show" and "Studio One."
Her films included "Monsieur Verdoux," in which she was one of several rich women Charlie Chaplin married and murdered, "Nine to Five," "Easter Parade," and "A Fine Madness."
On stage she appeared in "Death Takes a Holiday," "Uncle Harry," "Voice of the Turtle" and was in the last Ziegfeld Follies in 1932.