|Born||in Du Quoin, Illinois, USA|
|Height||5' 2" (1.57 m)|
Mini Bio (1)
Delightfully talented Billie Hayes was born August 5, 1932 in the small town of DuQuoin, Illinois, USA. She started in show business at 9 years old as a tap dancer in local clubs. She was encouraged but not "pushed" by her parents after she expressed the desire to do so.
By the time she was in her teens, she had joined a 14-piece orchestra and was working throughout the Midwest. After performing her own act in Chicago, she was cast in a New York revue which toured the United States and Canada.
Billie then landed a part in Leonard Sillman's Broadway production "New Faces of 1956" at the Ethel Barrymore Theatre that ran for 220 performances between June 14, 1956 and December 22, 1956. In that production Billie Hayes, among other performances was the singer for "The Greatest Invention" and was well received.
The producers of the Broadway production of "Li'l Abner" wanted her for the role of Mammy Yokum but the producer's of "New Faces" wouldn't release her from her contract and the part went to Charlotte Rae (later portraying Mrs. Garrett on the television show "The Facts of Life" fame). To her delight, Billie later replaced Charlotte in the role and went on to play the part in the 1959 film version and in the 1971 television version, as well.
A fellow cast member in a Las Vegas show Billie was in recommended her to Syd Krofft who was preparing for production for the television show H.R. Pufnstuf. Only two actresses auditioned to play Witchiepoo. The first was then unknown Penny Marshall, but it was felt that she was not right for the part. When Billie auditioned for the part of Witchiepoo, she set into a maniacal cackle and hopped up on a desk and was given the part on the spot.
Billie also appeared in the next Krofft brothers television show Lidsville and made other guest appearances on other live-action television shows through the rest of the 1970s and until the mid-1980s when she effectively made the transition to voice acting.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: calcaylor