HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) -- Imogene Coca, the elfin actress and satiric comedienne who co-starred with Sid Caesar on television's classic "Your Show of Shows" in the 1950s, died Saturday. She was 92.
Coca died of natural causes at her Westport residence, said longtime friend Mark Basile.
"She was a humanist," Basile said. "Her humanity was so strong, so giving. She made people want to be with her.'
Coca's saucer eyes, fluttering lashes, big smile and boundless energy lit up the screen in television's "Golden Age" and brought her an Emmy as best actress in 1951. Although she did some broad burlesque, her forte was subtle exaggeration.
A talented singer and dancer, her spoofs of opera divas and prima ballerinas tiptoed a fine line between dignity and absurdity until she pushed them over the edge at the end.
"The trouble with most comedians who try to do satire," a critic once wrote, "is that they are essentially brash, noisy and indelicate people who have to use a sledge hammer to smash a butterfly. Miss Coca, on the other hand, is the timid woman who, when aroused, can beat a tiger to death with a feather."
With Caesar she performed skits that satirized the everyday -- marital spats, takeoffs on films and TV programs, strangers meeting and speaking in cliches. "The Hickenloopers" husband-and-wife skit became a staple.
Coca was extremely shy and gentle. An animal lover, she once bought a crippled duck for 60 cents while vacationing in California and brought it back to live on her penthouse terrace in Manhattan. She also had standard poodles.
She was married in 1935 to Robert Burton; he arranged the music for many of her sketches. Burton died in 1955, and five years later she married actor King Donovan. He died in 1987.
She had no immediate family.
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