The news of her death was revealed on Sunday by her daughter, Erin Ellwood via an Instagram post.
Gloria Henry, the iconic TV mom on the CBS sitcom Dennis the Menace, has passed away. The actress, who rose to prominence in 1940, passed away a day after her 98th birthday on Saturday, reports Variety. The news of her death was revealed on Sunday by her daughter, Erin Ellwood via an Instagram post. The longtime production designer and interior designer shared a picture of her mother and captioned it: She’s flying now, free of her body. She left on a countdown 4 3 2 1 @ 3:40pm. She was such an incredible woman in so many ways. This last year with her has been beautiful and heartbreaking. Thank you all for following me and supporting me on this journey - this beautiful land mine. Goodbye Momma, I love your guts forever ❤️.
The actress was born in New Orleans and during her teen years, Henry moved to Los Angeles. She began her career by appearing in B movies like Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back in 1947, Adventures in Silverado in 1948, Riders in the Sky, and Air Hostess in 1949. Then in 1952, she started appearing in a regular role on the television series The Files of Jeffrey Jones. She also bagged some guest roles on Mr. and Mrs. North, My Little Margie, Perry Mason, and Father Knows Best, before Dennis the Menace finally came along. "Many of the fans say, 'Oh, I always wished you were my mom' and 'My mom was jealous of you because I wanted you for a mom. Which is pretty funny, because I don't think my own children felt that way," she said during a 2011 interview according to Hollywood Reporter.
During an interview with KTLA-TV Los Angeles in 2011, she recalled having clashes early in her career when she was bound by contract to Columbia Pictures with studio chief Harry Cohn. She was once threatened by Cohn, who said, "You may get somewhere at this studio but it’ll be over my dead body." Even when she auditioned for Dennis the Menace for the first time, she figured she could never really land the role as the series was being produced by Columbia Pictures. But in February 1958, Cohn died of a heart attack, and two days after his death Henry got the job.
Henry was best known for her role of Alice Mitchell, the mother of the mischievous title which was created as a newspaper cartoon by Hank Ketcham. The series adaptation starring Jay North in the titular role ran from 1959 to 1963. Even when the series came to an end, she marinated a steady presence in television through the mid-1960s. That being said, there was a huge gap in her resume when she paused her acting career to raise her three kids with her husband of 28 years, architect Craig Ellwood.
She made a comeback in 1981 when she played a role in the television movie The Brady Brides, a sequel to another classic TV clan. She guest-starred on many television shows in the 1980s and 1990s. This included Simon & Simon, Dallas, Silver Spoons, Newhart, Mr. Belvedere, and Doggie Howser, M.D. A few years ago, Henry expressed she was inspired to pursue acting again after witnessing the success of legendary actress Betty White even in her 90s. "She can’t have all the jobs."