LOS ANGELES - CIRCA 1985: Actress Inga Swenson poses for a portrait in circa 1985 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Donaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Inga Swenson, beloved “Benson” star, dies at 90

Inga Swenson, the acclaimed actress known for her unforgettable roles in both television and Broadway, has passed away at the age of 90. 

With three Primetime Emmy nominations for her portrayal of Gretchen Kraus in the hit series Benson, as well as two Tony nods for her stellar performances on Broadway, Swenson’s talent has left a lasting legacy in the entertainment industry.

According to TMZ, Swenson’s son Mark revealed that the actress passed away due to natural causes on July 23 at a care facility in Los Angeles. Her health had been declining over the past six months, with her loving husband of 70 years, Lowell Harris, by her side during her final moments.

Swenson’s career began in television with a 1957 appearance on Goodyear Playhouse, leading to numerous roles in shows like Folio, The United States Steel Hour, and Playhouse 90. Her breakthrough came with her role as Lady Jane in the 1961 TV movie Victoria Regina, which paved the way for acclaimed performances in films like Advise & Consent and The Miracle Worker in 1962.

The talented actress reached new heights in 1978 with her role as Ingrid Svenson in the TV series Soap, but it was her portrayal of the beloved German head housekeeper Gretchen Kraus on Benson that became her most well-known and praised work. Appearing in 159 episodes, Swenson’s impeccable chemistry with co-star Robert Guillaume’s character Benson DuBois, and her iconic retort of “I can hear you!” after his sly remarks, made her an Emmy nominee in 1980, 1982, and 1985.

Swenson’s talent extended beyond the small screen, as she shone on Broadway in productions like New Faces and The First Gentleman. Her outstanding performances earned her Tony nominations for Best Actress in a Musical for 110 in the Shade and Baker Street.

In 1998, Inga Swenson retired from acting, leaving behind a remarkable legacy that touched the hearts of audiences worldwide. She is survived by her loving husband Lowell, son Mark, and granddaughter Lily. The actress also faced the tragedy of losing her son James, who passed away in a motorcycle accident in 1987.

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