The Los Angeles Times reports that actress-producer Buff Cobb has passed on at what is believed to be the age of 83. Born in Florence, she was the daughter of famed opera singer Frank Chapman and authoress Elisabeth Cobb, daughter of famed folklorist Irvin S. Cobb. Father Frank was also married at one time to Gladys Swarthout, also serving as her agent (I guess this means he got twice the commission).
In the 1950s, Cobb became a familiar television face since she was matrimonially manacled to future 60 Minutes journalist Mike Wallace, whom she met and wed in 1949. The couple had their own talk show, Mike and Buff, a program where the two would often argue back and forth in the manner of Don Ameche and Francis Langford’s John and Blanche Bickerson, mixing light topics with the more serious issues of the day. Wallace would often admonish his better half with “Smarten up, Buff!”—which became the show’s catchphrase; the two Wallaces also appeared on a series entitled All Around the Town, and Cobb was a panelist on the popular Masquerade Party from 1953-55. (The couple later divorced in 1955.)
Cobb’s lone film credit was as one of Rex Harrison’s wives in Anna and the King of Siam (1946); most of her performing career was concentrated on stage work, appearing in productions with leading theatre lights as Tallulah Bankhead. But she later turned to producing plays for the stage, and in 1963 received a Tony nom for her inaugural Broadway production, Too True to Be Good, which starred the legendary Lillian Gish.
R.I.P, Ms. Cobb. You will be missed.