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Elmarie Wendel, ‘3rd Rock From the Sun’ Actress, Dies at 89

Wendel played the frisky landlady in the sitcom about ETs posing as humans on Earth

Last Updated: July 23, 2018 @ 12:07 PM

Elmarie Wendel, best known for playing the upstairs landlady and promiscuous octogenarian Mrs. Dubcek on the NBC sitcom “3rd Rock From the Sun,” has died. She was 89.

Wendel’s daughter, actress J.C. Wendel, announced her mother’s death in an Instagram post Saturday night, writing, “You were a great mom and a badass dame.”

No cause of death was given.

An Iowa native, Wendel traveled with her musical family when she was a child, dancing with her sisters in venues across the Midwest, including the Grand Ole Opry. She eventually ended up in Broadway and off-Broadway productions. Years later, the national tour of “Annie” took her to Los Angeles, where she transitioned to TV and film.

Although she appeared in such series as “Seinfeld,” “Murphy Brown,” “Knight Rider” and “Murder, She Wrote,” it was her role as Mrs. Dubcek on NBC’s “3rd Rock From the Sun” from 1996-2001 that she is remembered for. Never one to shy away from expressing her lust for John Lithgow’s Dr. Solomon, Mrs. Dubcek frequently offered up love life advice for the extraterrestrial family.

After “3rd Rock,” Wendel had a recurring role on “George Lopez” and had guest spots on “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior,” “General Hospital” and the “Execs,” as well as voicing the character of Aunt Grizelda in the animated film “The Lorax.”