Actress Elmarie Wendel, best known for her role as the eccentric Mrs. Dubcek on NBC’s long-running sitcom 3rd Rock From The Sun, has died. Her daughter, actress J.C. Wendel, confirmed her mother’s death on Instagram (see below). No cause of death was given. Wendel was 89.
Wendel began her career on the stage in New York City in both Broadway and off-Broadway productions. She joined the national touring company of Annie, which brought her to Los Angeles, and a successful transition into film and television.
In LA, she landed the role of Mrs. Dubcek, the Solomon family’s landlady, NBC’s hit sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun. The quirky character was a loose and free-spirited woman, who was known for her many sexual partners, and often acted as a bizarre and unlikely guide for the Solomons in handling problems in their love lives. In one episode “Dick and the Other Guy”, Sally, played by Kristen Johnson, believes that Don (Wayne Knight) is cheating on her and Mrs. Dubcek advises her to disguise herself and follow him around. The series aired from 1996-2001 on NBC.
Her other TV credits include Seinfeld, Murder She Wrote, Murphy Brown, Empty Nest, and The George Lopez Show. Her most recent TV credit was in 2014 in a guest-starring role on TV Land’s The Exes. Her film work includes the voice role of Aunt Grizelda on The Lorax.
Jim Beaver, who played Doug on 3rd Rock, paid tribute to Wendel on Twitter.”I’ve just heard from her daughter JC that my friend and colleague from 3rd ROCK FROM THE SUN, Elmarie Wendel, has died” Beaver wrote. “She was raucous, funny, endearing, and terribly, terribly sweet. Goodnight, Mrs. Dubcek, wherever you are.”