Sue Randall was an American actor who was best known for portraying a teacher named ‘Miss Alice Landers’ in the series 'Leave It to Beaver.' The iconic role made her so famous that she eventually became synonymous to the character. Sue had a short-lived career that included several TV appearances and two feature films. She had many western series under her belt. Apart from playing a significant role in the film 'Desk Set,' Sue also appeared in the 1960 thriller film 'Date Bait.' She was also known for her stellar performances in the series 'Valiant Lady,' 'Sea Hunt,' 'Perry Mason,' 'The Fugitive,' '77 Sunset Strip,' 'The F.B.I.,' 'Gunsmoke,' 'Wendy and Me,' and 'I Spy.' Following numerous remarkable performances, Sue retired early in her career. She made her last appearance in 1966. The reason for her retirement was a major injury caused by an accident. Sue ultimately died of lung cancer at the age of 49, which also took away her chance to reprise her iconic role of ‘Miss Alice Landers.’ In her final days, she was majorly involved in various charitable activities.
Childhood & Early Life
Sue was born Marion Burnside Randall, on October 8, 1935, in Philadelphia. Her father was a real-estate consultant. Sue attended the 'Lankenau School for Girls' in the Germantown District of Philadelphia in 1953 and later graduated from the 'American Academy of Dramatic Arts' in New York.
Sue had a keen interest in acting since she was a child. She began acting with an 'Alden Park Players' production at the age of 10.
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In 1953, Sue made her full-fledged acting debut with the character ‘Diane Emerson Soames’ of the 'CBS' TV and radio soap opera 'Valiant Lady.' She made her last appearance on the show in 1957. In 1954, Sue played a character of the same name in the 'CBS' daytime drama 'Woman with a Past.' In 1955, she was seen in an episode of the 'ABC' anthology series 'Star Tonight,' titled ‘Golden Victory.'
After making a few more TV appearances, Sue made her film debut as a desk employee named ‘Ruthie Saylor’ in the 1957 romantic comedy 'Desk Set.' The following year, she began portraying her most significant role in her career: ‘Miss Alice,’ Landers, a teacher, in the 'CBS' (later 'ABC') sitcom 'Leave It to Beaver.' Sue continued playing the character in 28 episodes, from 1958 to 1962. The series saw her replace legendary actor Diane Brewster, who had played ‘Miss Canfield’ in the first season of the series and also in the TV movies based on it.
Most of Sue’s TV credits consisted of western dramas. In 1959, she was seen in two 'ABC' western series. She portrayed an aspiring pianist named ‘Kathy O'Hara’ in an episode of 'Sugarfoot' and appeared as ‘Elaine’ in an episode of 'The Rebel.' Some of her other western ventures were the 'CBS' series ‘Have Gun – Will Travel,' which featured her as ‘Ruth’ and ‘Anna Ainslee’; 'NBC's 'Bonanza'; and 'ABC’s 'The Dakotas' and 'The Rifleman.' From 1959 to 1966, Sue played a number of characters in the syndicated western anthology 'Death Valley Days.'
Sue appeared in the syndicated series 'Sea Hunt' (1961). She portrayed ‘Ellen’ in an episode of the 'CBS' anthology series 'The DuPont Show with June Allyson' and made two guest appearances in the 'CBS' legal drama 'Perry Mason.' She appeared in 'The Twilight Zone' (1959–1964). She was seen as ‘Mimi Newell’ in the 'CBS’ adventure drama 'The Aquanauts' (1960), as ‘Gloria Landis’ and ‘Linda Shafer’ in 'Hennesey' (1959–1961), and as ‘Susan Meade’ in 'ABC's 'The Real McCoys' (1959). Sue’s last TV appearance was as ‘Ruth’ in an episode of the 'CBS' summer comedy–drama 'Vacation Playhouse,' which aired in 1967.
Sue was cast in 'Up on Cloud Nine,’ along with actor Theodora Davitt. A pilot episode was filmed, but unfortunately, the makers did not find any sponsors for the series. The pilot was rejected because the producers found the series "painfully unfunny” and did not like the idea of showing two airline stewardesses insulting and scaring passengers while preparing for a crash landing.
Family, Personal Life & Death
Sue quit acting after she had an accident in 1967. The accident gave her some major injuries that eventually worsened. Sue returned to Philadelphia 2 years after she made her last appearance in 'Vacation Playhouse.' There, she was involved in philanthropic activities and helped raise funds for programs related to arthritis, blindness, and multiple sclerosis.
Sue worked with several televised fundraising events, such as the 'Multiple Sclerosis Telethon,' 'Joey Bishop's Telethon for Handicapped Children,' and the 'Arthritis Fund.' She also worked to help poor children get education and supported 'Reading for the Blind’ and ‘Project Headstart.'
In 1982, Sue was diagnosed with lung cancer. Following this, she quit all her philanthropic projects. She also had cancer of the larynx, and the organ had to be removed. Due to this life-threatening disease, Sue could not be part of the revival series 'Still the Beaver' (1983). At that time, she was one of the surviving actors from the original series, 'Leave It to Beaver.'
Sue succumbed to cancer on October 26, 1984, at 'Pennsylvania Hospital' in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her dead body was donated to the 'Pennsylvania Humanity Gifts Registry.'