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Billie Bird, 94; Actress Had Character Roles in Movies, on TV

December 06, 2002|From Staff and Wire Reports

Billie Bird, 94, who began performing in vaudeville as a child and became a TV and movie character actress in her later years, died Nov. 27 of Alzheimer's disease in Los Angeles.

Bird, whose full name was Billie Bird Sellen, had been struggling with the disease for nearly five years.

She worked as recently as 1995, in the Pauly Shore comedy "Jury Duty." Other recent performances include 1993's "Dennis the Menace" and 1990's "Home Alone."

Bird played sassy, cheerful old ladies in such comedies as 1988's "Ernest Saves Christmas" and 1987's "Police Academy 4: Citizens on Patrol."

She was also a regular on the 1988-92 sitcom "Dear John," and made 12 trips to Vietnam with the USO to entertain U.S. troops during the 1960s and early '70s.

A native of Pocatello, Idaho, Bird was discovered at an orphanage at age 8 and hired to tour theater circuits with a vaudeville group.

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