Born in Toledo, Ohio, Shirley Mitchell made four appearances with Lucille Ball on My Favorite Husband before taking on the role of Lucy Ricardo's girlfriend, Marion Strong on I Love Lucy, in "Lucy and Ethel Buy the Same Dress" (Episode #69). She made two more appearances as Marion, on "Lucy's Club Dance" (Episode #91), and on "Lucy Tells the Truth" (Episode #72), in which her unforgettable laugh prompted Lucy to say "Stop cackling, Marion, I've been waiting ten years for you to lay that egg!"
Mitchell began her career as a radio star, where she met and became friends with Lucille Ball. Mitchell was a regular on radio where she was on such classic radio series as "Fibber McGee and Molly" and "The Great Gildersleeve", and other programs.
Mitchell joined I Love Lucy for the third season and appeared in only three episodes. She played the character of Marion, a character that was originally portrayed by Margie Liszt, and who set Lucy and Ricky up on their first date. She was best known for Lucy for getting the all-girl orchestra together for "12th Street Rag," volunteering herself as emcee for their women's club benefit because she once hosted "Senior Shenanigans" at the Rappahannock School for Girls, asking Lucy how much she weighed when Lucy had promised to only tell the truth.
Late in her career through the 70's she did voice-over work. Mitchell voiced Laurie Holliday on Hanna-Barbera's short-lived series "The Roman Holidays" in 1972. She also appeared in an episode of the ABC crime drama The Feather and Father Gang in 1977.
Throughout her career, Shirley Mitchell appeared in many television shows including Pete & Gladys (Janet Colton), Please Don't Eat the Daisies (Marge Thornton), Bachelor Father (Kitty Deveraux), The Beverly Hillbillies, The Dick Van Dyke Show, Petticoat Junction, Green Acres, The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, Three’s Company, The Odd Couple, Chico and the Man, the original Dallas, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. In 2012, she lent her voice to Cartoon Network's Mad, playing Betty White. She was an actress that was in high-demand throughout the 1950s and 1960s, and received roles in almost every big show from the time period.
Some of her other credits include: John Forsythe's secretary Kitty Deveraux on several episodes of Bachelor Father; neighbor Marge Thornton on Please Don't Eat the Daisies; Mae Belle Jennings, Kate Bradley's (Bea Benaderet) cousin, on Petticoat Junction; and Opal Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies. She also voiced Hanna-Barbera in "The Roman Holidays."
She also appeared in a few films such as Desk Set, Jamboree, Big Business, and The War Of The Roses. Mitchell's showbiz career spanned more than seven decades.
Mitchell was the widow of Oscar-winning songwriter Jay Livingston (who died in 2001), who cowrote classic tunes including "Que Sera Sera" and "Mona Lisa" whom she married in 1992, and is survived by her two children from her first husband Julian Frieden, Scott and Brooke.
Mitchell died of heart failure at her condo home in Westwood, CA and is interred in Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, Los Angeles, California.