Billie Hayes Dead: Witchiepoo on ‘H.R. Pufnstuf’ Was 96

She additionally portrayed Mammy Yokum within the Broadway and big-screen variations of ‘Li’l Abner.’

Billie Hayes, who performed the cackling Wilhelmina W. Witchiepoo on Sid and Marty Krofft’s H.R. Pufnstuf and the scrappy Mammy Yokum within the Broadway and big-screen variations of Li’l Abner, has died. She was 96.
Hayes died Thursday of pure causes at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, a household spokesperson mentioned.
After starring because the evil protagonist on the 1969-70 children program H.R. Pufnstuf, she reteamed with the Krofft brothers in 1971-72 on Lidsville, one other Saturday morning show for kids (she performed the incompetent Weenie the Genie on that one).
The Kroffts reacted on Twitter to the information of her demise:

More not too long ago, Hayes served as a voice actor for The Black Cauldron (1985) and for such cartoons as Trollkins, The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries, Paw Paws, Darkwing Duck, The Brothers Flub and Transformers: Rescue Bots.
Born on Aug. 5, 1924, in DuQuoin, Illinois, Hayes performed in bandleader Vince Genovese’s orchestra whereas in highschool, then toured along with her personal singing and dancing act all through the Midwest.
After transferring to New York, she auditioned for theater legend J.J. Shubert and was employed for precept roles in three roadshow operettas: Student Prince, The Merry Widow and Blossom Time.

Hayes made her Broadway debut in Leonard Sillman’s New Faces of 1956, then succeeded Charlotte Rae as Mammy Yokum in Li’l Abner. She performed the bare-knuckle champion of Dogpatch for the rest of its Broadway run by July 1958, then segued to the 1959 Paramount big-screen model that additionally starred Peter Palmer, Leslie Parrish, Stubby Kaye, Julie Newmar and Stella Stevens. (Hayes portrayed Mammy Yokum once more in a 1971 ABC telefilm.)
In 1966, she toured with the nationwide firm of Hello, Dolly!, starring Betty Grable, and later appeared on such TV reveals as The Monkees, Bewitched, Trapper John, M.D. and General Hospital.
Survivors embody her niece, Nancy, and nephews Tom, Louie and Guy.
Donations in her reminiscence will be made to the humane group she based: Pet Hope, P.O. Box 69493, West Hollywood CA 90048.

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