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Gildersleeve Women

The Great Man is also a Great Lover, as we will find as we get to know Gildersleeve's Women


Bea Benaderet played Principal Eve Goodwin

Bea Benaderet
played Principal Eve Goodwin


Una Merkel
Una Merkel played
Adeline Fairchild


Cathy Lewis

Cathy Lewis played Nurse Katherine Milford and Principal Irene Henshaw


In most of popular media, love is the business of the young and beautiful. Summerfield's most eligible bachelor was neither young nor beautiful, but he had plenty of interest in love!

The women that Gildersleeve pursued added more than a little spice to his life, and Gildy was a terrific lover, at least by the standards of radio in the 1940's. The women would come and they would go, but the passion that Gildersleeve put into their pursuit was a thing of beauty. He wrote poetry, plotted to steal kisses and hold their hands, came up with far-fetched excuses to sit next to them, and wooed them with his rich baritone voice.

Leila Ransom (Shirley Mitchell)

Leila Ransom is a Southern widow who moves into the house next to the Gildersleeves. She is a beauty played by Shirley Mitchell, and Gildy is smitten. The courtship lasts through the show's second season, leading up to the wedding day. Gildy suffers from cold feet as the happy day approaches, but it is Leila who leaves him at the altar.

Eve Goodwin (Bea Benaderet)

Leila is back next season, but by now Gildersleeve's heart belongs to Leroy's school principal, Eve Goodwin, played by Bea Benaderet. Benaderet played many roles on the Jack Benny Program as well as "Millicent Carstairs" on Fibber McGee and Molly. Gildersleeve again finds himself happily engaged (not without interference from Leila) and then even more happily manages to remain a bachelor.

Adeline Fairchild (Una Merkel)

Years later Leila's Cousin Adeline Fairchild, played by Una Merkel, comes to town, moving into Leila's house next door to Gildy. Merkel's showbiz start was as Lillian Gish's stand-in. Gildy, doesn't exactly lose his head over Adeline, (but he does misplace it for a bit.) The next season during the Mystery Baby Affair, Gildersleeve proposes to Adeline as part of an effort to adopt the baby. In fact for a time he is engaged to Adeline and Leila at the same time! However the baby is returned to her natural father and Gildy narrowly escapes the marriage noose again.

Ellen Bullard Knickerbocker (Martha Scott)

Paula Bullard Winthrop (Jeanne Bates)

Katherine Milford and Principal Irene Henshaw (Kathy Lewis)

During the later years of the show Gildy dates the neighbor Rumson Bullard's sisters, Ellen Bullard Knickerbocker (Martha Scott) and Paula Bullard Winthrop (Jeanne Bates). He will also carry on a sweet, but low key romance with a pretty nurse, Katherine Milford, and school Principal Irene Henshaw, both played by Kathy Lewis. Although these affairs never really get past the "Just Friends" stage, Gildersleeve will always find an excuse for his lady friends to share a spot on the sofa, and he always hopes to steal that special kiss.

To hear the Great Lover in action, LISTEN NOW to the following episodes:

Great Gildersleeve