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The Hollywood star Carole Cook, who was the protégé of the late great Lucille Ball, passed away yesterday just three days shy of her 99th birthday.

Cook Passes Away

Cook’s death was confirmed by her representative, who told Fox News that she died of heart failure. 

Cook was born Mildred Cook in Abilene, Texas, on Jan. 14, 1924 as one of four children, according to The Hollywood Reporter

“Abilene isn’t exactly the hub of Broadway — you’re up to your ass in mesquite trees — but I saw my first show when I was four, knew I wanted to do that, and I never deviated,” she said in July of last year. “I started out in the basement of the First Baptist Church and worked my way up to Broadway, to movies.”

Cook got her big break when she was specifically requested by Ball for the “Desilu Review.” It was Ball who told Cook that she should change her first name to Carole in honor of her legendary late movie star friend Carole Lombard, who was killed in a plane crash in 1942.

“Like her, you have the same healthy disrespect for all things in general,” Ball reportedly told Cook at the time.

Cook was so close to Ball that she moved in with her after the “I Love Lucy” star’s divorce from Desi Arnaz in 1960. Four years later, Ball served as the matron-of-honor when Cook married Tom Troupe, who survives her. 

Related: Inside Lucille Ball And Desi Arnaz’s Sex-Crazed Marriage

Cook’s Career

Cook’s film credits include The Incredible Mr. Limpet, Palm Springs Weekend and American Gigolo. Fans of a certain age will best remember her for playing Molly Ringwald’s Grandma Helen in the classic 1984 film Sixteen Candles.

Page Six reported that Cook appeared in 18 episodes of “The Lucy Show” from 1963 to 1968, followed by five episodes of “Here’s Lucy” from 1969 to 1974. Cook was still performing in 2018, when she shared her memories in a one-woman show at the intimate Feinstein’s/54 Below club in New York City. 

“At my age, playing [here] is not a career move,” she said. “I have jewelry bigger than this room.”

Related: Lucille Ball’s Daughter Reveals Secrets About Her Mom’s Marriage to Desi Arnaz

Cook’s Memories Of Ball

Though it had been 33 years since Ball passed away, Cook still had not forgotten her when she was interviewed this past summer.

“I consider myself to have known two great women in Ethel Merman and Lucille Ball — great, great, enormous, genius talents,” she recalled. “I loved being with them; maybe because I thought some of that would splash on me. They loved their work, spent a lifetime doing it, and I don’t think Lucille Ball was happier than when she was rehearsing.”

Cook also never forgot the advice that Ball gave her. 

 “I remember Lucy saying clearly, ‘Carole, practice the art of selfishness,’ and what she meant by that is if you take care of yourself you are helping everyone else,” she said. “In this business, you meet everyone from the lowest to the highest and I take from everyone I meet on this journey. And, if you’re smart, you take the good things. Be very selective.”

Watch Cook talk more about Ball in the video below.

While Cook will be dearly missed, we can all find comfort in knowing that she’s been reunited with Ball in Heaven. May they both rest in peace.

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