G. McConway
August 1, 2023

‘Benson’ Star Dead at 90

Man, I have not thought of the TV show “Benson” since I was in high school.

Then I see a headline that Inga Swenson, who played Miss Gretchen Wilomena Kraus on the show, had passed away.

Kraus had been having severe health issues over the last few years, finally passing away at the age of 90, with her husband of 70 years, Lowell Harris, by her side, reported EW.

Amazing Career

Swenson first broke into screen acting in 1957, appearing on “Goodyear Playhouse.” She also played Lady Jane in a TV movie called “Victoria Regina” and smaller roles in “Advise & Consent” and “The Miracle Worker.”

She landed a role on “Soap” in 1978, which was a comedic nighttime soap-opera style show, playing Ingrid Svenson.

That would lead to her landing the role of Gretchen on “Benson,” where she played in 159 episodes on the show that had an amazing run from 1979 to 1986.

For her work on Benson, she received three Emmy nominations.

Seeing her argue and trade barbs with Benson, who was played by Robert Guillaume, came rushing back from memory when I heard of her death.

Oddly enough, “Benson” was a spinoff of “Soap,” but Swenson played two different roles on the shows.

She played in one TV movie after that, as well as a handful of TV shows, with her last IMDb credited role as Grandma Helga on “Life with Louie” in 1997. In all, she has 45 acting credits to her name.

As successful as she was on TV, her real talent came through on Broadway, receiving a Best Actress Tony nomination for “110 in the Shade and Baker Street.”

Swenson is survived by her husband, Lowell, who as mentioned above, was married to her for seven decades; her son, Mark; and granddaughter, Lily. Svenson did have another son, James, but he died in an accident in 1987.

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