Jerry Fogel Dies: ‘The Mothers-In-Law’ & ‘The White Shadow’ Co-Star Was 83

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Jerry Fogel, a longtime screen actor best remembered as the beleaguered bridegroom Jerry Buell on NBC’s 1960s sitcom The Mothers-in-Law, has died, He was 83.

Fogel, who diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2008, died Monday at the Kansas City Hospice House in Kansas City, MO, his family announced.

The son of a Rochester, NY, movie theater owner, Fogel found his first showbiz audience in his hometown as a highly rated disc jockey for WBBF-AM, a local rock ‘n’ roll radio station. Fogel signed off in Rochester, however, when he signed up with the William Morris Agency and headed west to seek his fortune in Hollywood. His big break arrived in the form of The Mothers-in-Law, a Desi Arnaz production created by I Love Lucy writing tandem Bob Carroll and Madelyn Pugh Davis.

The show, aired from 1967-68, was about the “relative” insanity that a just-eloped couple, Jerry (Fogel) and Susie Hubbard (Deborah Walley), face when they move in with her parents (EveArden and Herbert Rudley), who live next door to his parents (Kaye Ballard and Roger C. Carmel). The meddling mothers-in-law only intensify their campaign when the newlyweds welcome twin babies into the picture.

A former West Point cadet, the lanky 6-foot-3 actor also played Lt. Commander William Outerbridge in Richard Fleischer’s Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970), the Pearl Harbor epic that also featured Martin Balsam, Jason Robards, E.G. Marshall, Sō Yamamura, and Joseph Cotton.

On the CBS drama The White Shadow (1978-81), Fogel recurred as the brother of star Ken Howard’s Ken Reeves, a retired Chicago Bulls player who takes a job coaching basketball at a fictional Los Angeles high school. The show’s title is a reference to the fact that Reeves is white while most of his players are black or Latino.

Fogel’s credits also included guest appearances on The Big Valley, That Girl!, Love, American Style, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, The Bob Newhart Show, Here’s Lucy, Marcus Welby, M.D., and Barnaby Jones. 

Fogel moved to Kansas City after The White Shadow finished its run. He found a new audience in the Midwest by hosting a local-issues talk show in Missouri for 15 years.

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