Carole Cook, B.A. ’45

Carole Cook, B.A. ’45, a legendary and critically acclaimed veteran of stage, television and film, passed at the age of 98, just three days shy of her 99th birthday.

Born Mildred Cook, she was a graduate of Baylor University, and while there studied under the renowned Paul Baker. A native of Abilene, TX, Carole got her stellar start in Hollywood when the legendary Lucille Ball requested her comedic talents for the Desilu Review. Upon Mildred’s arrival in Los Angeles from New York, Lucy suggested a name change and mentioned “Carole” in honor of her friend, the late movie star, Carole Lombard, because, according to Ball, “like her, you have the same healthy disrespect for all things in general.” And so, Carole Cook was born.

As Cook’s mentor, Ball frequently cast her in guest roles in The Lucy Show and Here’s Lucy. The two remained life-long friends, with Ball even appearing as Cook’s matron-of-honor at her 1964 wedding to Tom Troupe.

Cook won Best Actress Awards for “The Supporting Cast” and “Patio/Porch.” As Queen Eleanor in “The Lion in Winter,” she co-starred with her husband, Tom Troupe, in the Los Angeles and Dallas productions. They again appeared together in “The Gin Game.” Cook was the second actress in the world to take on the lead role in “Hello Dolly,” playing the part for two years in Australia and New Zealand. She also had the distinction of being the only actress to play the title role in major productions of the play, “Auntie Mame,” and the musical, “Mame.”

Cook and her husband received the prestigious 2002 Theatre Ovation Award for Career Achievement, the first husband and wife ever to be so honored. In 2018, she appeared in a sold-out engagement at Feinstein’s/54 Below in her highly acclaimed one woman show. In 1995 she received Baylor’s Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2019, she was honored with her own plaque on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars.

Cook was a long-time featured performer in the annual Los Angeles S.T.A.G.E. benefit and San Francisco’s Richmond/Ermet Aid Foundation’s Help is on the Way, for which she received the 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award.

Most recently, Cook was a recipient of the Texas Cultural Trust 2023 Texas Medal of the Arts award for Lifetime Achievement in Theater.