Patsy Garrett, the character actress best known for dancing with a cat in Purina’s well-remembered Cat Chow commercials in the 1970s (see below), has died at age 93.
According to family friend Richard Sackley, Garrett died “after a brief illness in Indio, California.”
An obituary written by Sackley says, in part, that Garrett (no relation to the late actress Betty Garrett) was “born May 4, 1921 in Atlantic City, N.J.. The actress and singer began her career as a radio performer at the age of seven. As a singer, she is best known for her seven years as an original member of Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians, appearing on Fred Waring’s ‘Pleasure Time’ radio show in the 1940’s.
“Later on, she entertained TV fans as nosy neighbor Florence Fowler on ‘Nanny and the Professor’ (1970-71) , school secretary Miss Hogarth on ‘Room 222’ (1972-73) and Mary Gruber in the ‘Benji’ series of motion pictures beginning in 1974.
“Her numerous TV appearances throughout the 60s through 80s included ‘Family,’ ‘Kojak,’ ‘Medical Center’ ‘The Waltons,’ ‘Medical Center,’ and her final TV role as a bigoted mother on Redd Foxx’ ‘Sanford’ in 1981.
U.S. TV audiences of the 1960s and 1970s will remember Garrett for another recurring role in a series of commercial messages as the Purina Cat Chow Lady. A post-production trick involving the controlled forward motion and reversal of the film had Garrett dancing the ‘chow-chow-chow’ with a cat in a good-humored parody of the cha-cha-cha.
Garrett also was in Elvis Presley’s 1969 film, ‘The Trouble With Girls.’ Ironically, she passed on Elvis’ birthday, Jan. 8.”
Sackley adds, “In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be sent to Children’s Playtime Productions at ww.justgive.org/chowchowchow.
Here’s Patsy Garrett in one of her famous Purina Cat Chow Commercials that we found on YouTube: