Barbara Stuart, 81, an actress with a familiar if not famous face on television for half a century, who appeared on nearly 80 television series that spanned much of the medium's history, died Sunday in St. George, Utah.
Starting with I Led Three Lives in 1954 and concluding with the Showtime series Huff in 2006, Ms. Stuart never achieved stardom.
Viewers with sharp eyes and good memories might recall her as Miss Bunny, the long-suffering girlfriend of Sgt. Carter on Gomer Pyle, USMC, or as Peggy Ferguson, McLean Stevenson's wife on The McLean Stevenson Show, but her television appearances were notable more for their frequency than their visibility.
After appearing in the recurring role of Bessie, Gildy's inept secretary, on The Great Gildersleeve, in 1955, she found steady employment for the next five decades, compiling a long list of credits that included shows both renowned and long forgotten. She appeared on the classic shows The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, Rawhide, The Twilight Zone, The Dick Van Dyke Show, and Taxi.
Barbara Ann McNeese was born in Paris, Ill., and grew up in nearby Hume. After graduating from high school, she took acting classes at the Schuster-Martin School of Drama in Cincinnati and then moved to New York, where she studied with Stella Adler and Uta Hagen.
To pay for her classes, she modeled on the side. For professional purposes, she took the last name Stuart, a family name.
Ms. Stuart wound up her television career in a recurring role on Huff. From 2004 to 2006, she played Alice, one of Blythe Danner's bridge partners.
Her marriage to the actor Dick Gautier ended in divorce. - N.Y. Times News Service