Florida Friebus

Florida Friebus (October 10, 1909 [note 1][1] – May 27, 1988) was an American writer and actress of stage, film, and television. Friebus's best-known roles were Winifred "Winnie" Gillis, the sympathetic mother of Dwayne Hickman's character Dobie Gillis on The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis,[2]: 267  and Mrs. Lillian Bakerman on The Bob Newhart Show.[2]

Florida Friebus
Florida Friebus 1968.JPG
Friebus in 1968
Born(1909-10-10)October 10, 1909
DiedMay 27, 1988(1988-05-27) (aged 78)
Other namesFlorida Freebus
Florida Freibus
OccupationActress, screenwriter
Years active1929–1978
(m. 1934; div. 1952)

Early yearsEdit

Born in Auburndale, Massachusetts to Theodore Friebus and Beatrice Flagg Mosier,[note 2][1] Friebus hailed from an East Coast theatrical family that included her father, a leading stage actor with Boston's Castle Square Players in the early 1900s and a minor silent-film actor, and her maternal grandmother, Georgine Flagg, who scandalized her own family in the late 19th century by venturing onstage as a player with Augustin Daly's stock company in Manhattan.[citation needed]

Friebus was known to make it clear to curious people that she was named after her mother's favorite aunt — not after the state of Florida. Her paternal grandmother was named Florida as well.[3]

Personal lifeEdit

Friebus married actor Richard Waring, in 1934. They had one child who died in infancy. The couple divorced in 1952. Friebus never remarried.[4]


Friebus first acted professionally in 1929 in New York City, appearing in The Cradle Song with the Civic Repertory Theater.[1]

She appeared on television in such programs as The Ford Theatre Hour, Perry Mason, Bachelor Father, Father Knows Best, The Rookies, Peyton Place, Ironside, Gunsmoke, Sanford and Son, Ben Casey, The Doris Day Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Room 222, The Partridge Family, Chico and the Man, Barnaby Jones, Alice, and Rhoda.

She also read stories to children on Look and Listen on KNXT in Los Angeles, California.[1]

As a writer, Friebus collaborated with Eva Le Gallienne to dramatize Alice in Wonderland. The play was presented on Broadway and later on the Hallmark Hall of Fame on television.[1]

Actors' EquityEdit

Friebus spent more than 16 years on the board of Actors' Equity Association. She was presented the Phil Loeb Award "for extraordinary service to her profession."[1]


Friebus died of cancer in 1988 in Laguna Niguel, California, aged 78.


Friebus' papers are housed at the New York Public Library.[4]


Year Film Role Notes
1958 High School Confidential! Mrs. Staples Uncredited
1978 Jennifer Miss Tooker
Year Title Role Notes
1950 Lights Out 1 episode
Escape 1 episode
Pulitzer Prize Playhouse 1 episode
1950–1951 The Philco Television Playhouse 2 episodes
1950–1953 Kraft Television Theatre 3 episodes
1953 Goodyear Television Playhouse 1 episode
1954 Lamp Unto My Feet 1 episode
1956 Hallmark Hall of Fame Karoline 1 episode
The Alcoa Hour Mrs. Franklin 1 episode
1957 The Joseph Cotten Show Helen Fogarty 1 episode
1957–1958 Bachelor Father Mrs. Banks
Mrs. Marquand
3 episodes
1958 Father Knows Best 1 episode
1959 Playhouse 90 1 episode
The Donna Reed Show Helen Brooks 1 episode
1959–1963 The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis Winifred Gillis 87 episodes
1960 The Chevy Mystery Show Lois Halsey 1 episode
1963 Perry Mason Marian Lamont 1 episode
1964 The New Phil Silvers Show Mrs. Bradshaw 1 episode
Peyton Place Maggie Riggs Unknown episodes
1965 My Mother the Car Miss McFee 1 episode
1966 This Is the Life 1 episode
Ben Casey 1 episode
1968 Ironside Middle-Aged Woman 1 episode
1971–1972 The Mary Tyler Moore Show Mrs. Marshall
2 episodes
1972 Sanford and Son Woman 1 episode
Ghost Story Mrs. Prescott 1 episode
The Doris Day Show Miss Peabody 1 episode
Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law 1 episode
1972–1978 The Bob Newhart Show Mrs. Lillian Bakerman 17 episodes
1973 Room 222 1 episode
Cannon Julie McElroy 1 episode
Gunsmoke Mrs. Tavers 1 episode
The Partridge Family Mrs. Hendleman 1 episode
The Rookies Sister Elizabeth 1 episode
1973–1977 Barnaby Jones Molly McMurty
Connie Graham
2 episodes
1974–1978 Rhoda Harriet Strongen
Edna Brundidge
Mrs. Swensen
3 episodes
1975 Chico and the Man Althea Nelson 1 episode
Miles to Go Before I Sleep Ruth Television movie
Love Nest Jenny 1 episode
Kate McShane 1 episode
1976 Amelia Earhart Miss Perkins Television movie
Switch Fiona 2 episodes
1978 Kaz 1 episode
ABC Weekend Special Miss Kelly 1 episode


  1. ^ Her obituary in the Los Angeles Times gives her birth year as 1908.
  2. ^ Her obituary in the Los Angeles Times gives her place of birth as Nantucket Island, Massachusetts.


  1. ^ a b c d e f McGraw, Carol (June 2, 1988). "Florida Friebus; Played Mother of Dobie Gillis". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on June 6, 2017. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
  2. ^ a b Terrace, Vincent (January 10, 2014). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland. pp. 119–120. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  3. ^ "A Question for You, Mr. Shakespeare". Jefferson City Post-Tribune. May 18, 1962. p. 16. Retrieved June 6, 2017 – via Newspapers.com. 
  4. ^ a b Florida Friebus papers, 1926-1988, Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts; accessed July 9, 2015.

External linksEdit