Following the departure of each Charlotte Rae as Mrs. Garrett (for The Details of Life) and substitute Nedra Volz as Adelaide Brubaker, Mary Jo Catlett joined the forged of Diff’lease Strokes as Pearl Gallagher, the Drummond family’s remaining and longest-tenured housekeeper. Throughout her three seasons on the present, Pearl noticed Arnold (Gary Coleman) and Willis (Todd Bridges) by way of Kimberly’s (Dana Plato) transfer to Paris; the arrival of future Mrs. Drummond, Maggie McKinney (Mary Ann Mobley) and son Sam (Danny Cooksey); a cameo from Mr. T; and quite a few “Very Particular Episodes” because the present strived for scores and relevance within the mid-Eighties.
Within the a long time that adopted, Catlett remained a fixture on stage and display screen, together with probably the most iconic cartoons of all time. Learn on to see what the veteran actress is to date at age 83.
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Early in her profession, Catlett made visitor appearances on TV sequence together with The Bob Newhart Present, The Waltons, Fantasy Island, The Duke of Hazzard, and M*A*S*H. She continued her run of visitor spots after Diff’lease Strokes ended, showing in acquainted ’80s hits like ALF; Homicide, She Wrote; Common Hospital; and Evening Courtroom.
In 1990, she was nominated for Excellent Supporting Actress in a Drama Collection for her function on Common Hospital enjoying Mary Finnegan, the housekeeper of sequence lead Robert Scorpio (Tristan Rogers). One memorable storyline noticed her serving to her employer faux his personal dying.
Extra not too long ago, Catlett has made visitor appearances on That is So Raven, Chilly Case, Glee, Two Broke Ladies, Determined Housewives, and Fashionable Household. Her most up-to-date live-action TV job was showing in two episodes of the NBC crime drama, Good Ladies.
On movie, Catlett performed Rosemary Ackerman in John Waters’ 1994 black comedy Serial Mother. She additionally had small roles in a handful of different movies, together with The Benchwarmers, starring Rob Schneider and David Spade, and Let’s Be Cops, with Jake Johnson and Damon Wayans, Jr.
Catlett’s longest-running function has concerned solely her voice. Within the ’80s and early ’90s she voiced characters on exhibits together with The Smurfs, Rugrats, and the Disney sequence Bonkers and Quack Pack. In 1998, she landed the function of Mrs. Puff in somewhat forthcoming Nickelodeon sequence titled SpongeBob SquarePants.
In keeping with a current interview on the SpongeBob fan podcast SpongeBob BingePants, sequence creator Stephen Hillenburg particularly sought Catlett out for the function after seeing her in a play—although she’s not precisely certain which one.
She’s been within the function ever since, voicing SpongeBob’s trainer throughout 13 seasons of the TV sequence, in addition to in three characteristic movies, eight video video games, and, not too long ago, two spinoff sequence: Kamp Koral: SpongeBob’s Underneath Years and The Patrick Star Present.
Catlett had no concept Mrs. Puff would find yourself defining her profession in such a giant means. Remembering the casting course of on the SpongeBob BingeCast, she defined, “My agent mentioned, ‘You recognize, It is just a bit interim cartoon present to fill in for an additional one for the summer time. it is solely going to be in the summertime.’ Liar! Pants on hearth.”
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Previous to her sitcom fame, Catlett was already a celebrated stage performer, who made her Broadway debut within the authentic manufacturing of Hiya Dolly! in 1964 reverse Carol Channing.
After Diff’lease Strokes ended, she returned to theater, showing in a regional revival of the musical The Pajama Recreation in Pasadena in 1989. All through the ’90s, she additionally appeared in Los Angeles-based productions of Lend Me a Tenor, Magnificence and the Beast, and The Music Man. Most not too long ago, in 2011, she appeared in a manufacturing of the musical The Marriage ceremony Singer, enjoying Rosie, grandmother to the title character. The Los Angeles Instances famous of her efficiency, “Mary Jo Catlett invests Robbie’s hip grandmother with old-school aplomb.”
Through the years, Catlett has commonly joined profit live shows elevating cash for the struggle in opposition to HIV and AIDS. For instance, she’s made a number of appearances within the annual Assist Is on the Means live performance sequence, which helps the titular non-profit, a company that helps youngsters affected by the illness.
Catlett has been concerned within the struggle in opposition to AIDS for the reason that early days of the epidemic. She was motivated to lift consciousness after the passing of her shut pal, the artist Robert Hoppe, who died of issues from AIDS in 1989.
The actor has additionally appeared in profit live shows in help of the Leisure Group Fund (previously the Actors Fund), a company that seeks to “present a security internet for performing arts and leisure professionals.”
Effectively into her seventh decade as a performer, lately, Catlett considers herself “largely retired”—save for her voice efficiency on SpongeBob SquarePants.
“I like my work,” she mentioned in a 2021 interview with Richard Skipper. “I want I may do it extra, however I do know that age occurs.”
As a part of semi-retirement, she’s going to make an look within the 2023 movie When the Moon Was Twice as Large, which was filmed previous to the pandemic.