Meredith MacRae, 56, who played comely country girl...

Deaths Elsewhere

July 18, 2000

Meredith MacRae, 56, who played comely country girl Billie Jo Bradley in the 1960s sitcom "Petticoat Junction," died Friday from brain cancer at home in Manhattan Beach, Calif.

She played Billie Jo from 1966-70 on the CBS series, which starred Bea Benaderet as the widowed owner of the Shady Rest Hotel and mother of three eye-catching daughters who helped run the Hooterville establishment. Her first TV series was "My Three Sons," in which she played Sally, the love interest for Mike (Tim Considine) from 1963-65.

Miss MacRae was born in Houston to a Hollywood family: Her father was the late actor-singer Gordon MacRae, who played the lovesick cowboy Curly in "Oklahoma!" Her mother is actress-comedian Sheila MacRae ("The Honeymooners").

Sally Fitzgerald, 83, a close friend and steward of Flannery O'Connor's small but exceptional collection of short stories and other writings, died of cancer June 25 in Cambridge, Mass.

Mrs. Fitzgerald, a homemaker and occasional book reviewer, was the editor of "The Habit of Being: Letters of Flannery O'Connor," which she described as a "self-portrait in words" of the Southern writer often compared to Nathaniel Hawthorne and Fyodor Dostoevsky. The letters, published in 1979, earned an unprecedented special award in 1980 from the National Book Critics Circle.

She also was co-editor with her then-husband, Robert, of "Flannery O'Connor: Mystery and Manners," a 1969 selection of essays and lectures that illuminated many of Miss O'Connor's ideas about writing. She was editor of the Library of America's "Flannery O'Connor: Collected Works," published in 1988, and was completing a biography of the author when she died.

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