Watching the ALL STAR FAMILY FEUD DVD, there was one great moment, made even more so by the fate of one of those involved.
In an episode where the cast of THE DUKES OF HAZZARD played against the cast of ANGIE, the cast of ANGIE won. To go into the final round, ANGIE cast members Debralee Scott and Robert Hays were chosen to play. Hays goes off stage to wait for his chance.
Debralee does her best to answer the questions. She then stands, shaking, extremely nervous next to Richard Dawson while he reveals the point values to her answers.
She didn’t have anything to be nervous about. By the time that Richard was finished revealing the value of her answers, they had earned over the 200 points needed to win. Robert Hays didn’t even have to come out and play. It was one of the few times Richard Dawson says that someone won on the first player.
Needless to say, Debralee was thrilled.
Debralee is actually one of the reasons I started the “What Ever Happened To” feature.
Back in the 90’s, TV Guide was writing a feature about forgotten stars, and what they were doing at that time. They were trying to track down LAUGH IN’s Henry Gibson. He was away, but his manager who took the call said “Well, I guess you could always write about me”. Turned out, Debralee was Henry’s manager.
She was a very familiar face on TV in the 70’s. She was a cast member of MARY HARTMAN, MARY HARTMAN, WELCOME BACK KOTTER, and later ANGIE.
There were also appearances on variety shows of the time, such as this clip from “The Donna Summer Show”, singing back up to “Bad Girls” with Twiggy and Pat Ast.
And, there were plenty of films too. From AMERICAN GRAFITTI, THE REINCARNATION OF PETER PROUD, the cult classic PANDEMONIUM, and even two of the POLICE ACADEMY films.
Because of these roles, she was also a frequent guest on game shows. In addition to FAMILY FEUD, she was frequently on THE MATCH GAME and PASSWORD PLUS.
This clip of her is on Youtube, of a pilot for a game show she appeared on. It didn’t get picked up, even though it was hosted by David Letterman.
Her last acting credit was a small role in a 1989 film, MISPLACED. Although, since it was just a small role, I guess you can say 1986’s POLICE ACADEMY 3 was her real final role.
After getting out of acting, she went into the management side of the industry. Her sister was a talent manager, and her other sister was a film producer (who produced most of Robert Altman’s films). This is where TV Guide met up with her.
But, what happened after is the heartbreaking part of her story.
Debralee was engaged to a man by the name of John Levi. He was a police officer with the New York Port Authority. On September 11, 2001, he was killed in the World Trade Center.
In March of 2005, she moved to Florida, to take care of one of her sisters. There, she mysteriously collapsed and fell into a coma. She was taken to the hospital where, a few days later, she recovered. She seemed to be doing well, so was released on her birthday, April 2, 2005.
Three days later, on April 5, 2005, she went to take a nap. She never woke up. Autopsies weren't able to reveal what the cause of her death was, and ruled it natural causes. Her sister died a year later.
Such a sad end to one of the most recognizable character actresses of the 70’s.
Yet, the ALL STAR FAMILY FEUD DVD, as well as the rest of her work, is available to remind everyone of how good she was.