Japanese actress Miyoshi Umeki sadly passed away last week from cancer. She specialized in playing sweet, gentle, subserviant women, which is why she was never a favorite of mine. Miyoshi was the first Asian actress to win an Academy Award, which she received for playing a war bride who marries an American flyer in the WWII drama Sayonara (1957) and then played the Chinese waif newly arrived in San Francisco who suffers culture shock in the hit musical Flower Drum Song (1961) though for me the film is stolen by the more animated Nancy Kwan as the hot-blooded showgirl Linda Low.

Most fans though will fondly remember Miyoshi as Mrs. Livingston on the late 1960s/early 1970s sitcom The Courtship of Eddie’s Father. Swinging bachelor Bill Bixby, his precocious son Brandon Cruz, and Miyoshi as their maid, caretaker, and advice-giver charmed audiences young and old. When the series ended in 1972, Miyoshi retired from show business.



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