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After establishing herself on the stage, Reta Shaw moved into films and television series, playing matronly characters accentuated by her full figure. Originally from Maine, she made her way to the New York stage in the mid 1940s, appearing in Broadway musicals including "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" and "Annie Get Your Gun." Her first screen appearances were for television series in the early '50s, before transferring her theatrical characters to feature parts in the drama "Picnic" and the Doris Day-starring musical comedy "The Pajama Game." She would work mainly in TV afterward, with the exception of a few supporting parts in such popular films as "Pollyanna" and "Mary Poppins." Through the '60s, Shaw showed up in countless comedy series, often repeatedly, working with such legends as Lucille Ball, Dick Van Dyke, and Red Skelton. Her most high-profile role came as the housekeeper in "The Ghost & Mrs. Muir," the sitcom about a family haunted by the spirit of a 19th-century ship captain. After that show ran its two seasons, Shaw continued to appear in guest spots on other series, though she finished her career in a supporting part as a teacher in the supernatural drama "Escape to Witch Mountain."
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