RIP Billie Hayes, 1925-2021

It was with some small amount of shock that I read that the great Billie Hayes was 96 when she passed away last week, because she’d been convincingly playing women about the age of 96 since the mid-1950s. When she wasn’t playing an old hillbilly, she was, of course, the immortal Witchiepoo, whose first name was usually “Wilhelmina” when it wasn’t “Miss.” I don’t know that any performer has ever let the audience know that they were having such a blast being rotten more than Hayes; Witchiepoo was an incompetent tornado of anger and fury. Watching her bellow and clobber her nincompoop assistants is a joy unparalleled in television, and if I had a great big vulture in the house, I’d smack him with a magic wand right now in tribute to our fallen queen of evil. Our condolences to her family and friends.

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