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Inga Swenson (American Actress) Bio, Facts 

Inga Swenson

Born/Date of Birth: December 29, 1932 (some sources say 1934)
Place of Birth: Omaha, Nebraska, United States
Residence: Venice, California
Occupation: Actress, Singer
Spouse(s): Lowell M. Harris (an actor and singer), m. February 21, 1953
Children: James Harris, Mark Harris
Parent(s): A.C.R. Swenson (an attorney), Geneva (Seeger) Swenson

Inga Swenson (born December 29, 1932; Omaha, Nebraska) is an American actress.

Inga Swenson graduated from Omaha Central High School in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1950. She studied drama at Northwestern University under Alvina Krause, among others, and was a member of the Alpha Phi sorority. Early in her career, Swenson had supporting roles in the films Advise and Consent (1962) and The Miracle Worker (1962) in which she played Helen Keller's mother. Swenson is a trained lyric soprano and starred on Broadway in New Faces (c. 1956), and The First Gentleman (1959), receiving Tony Award nominations for Best Actress in a Musical for her performances in 110 in the Shade (1964) and Baker Street (1965).

Swenson had a role in the TV western series Bonanza in two episodes: "Inger, My Love" (1962) and "Journey Remembered" (1963). Swenson took a brief leave of absence from her starring role in 110 in the Shade on Broadway to appear in the later episodes. In these episodes, she played the second wife of Ben Cartwright (Lorne Greene), the mother of Hoss Cartwright (Dan Blocker). She was actually four years younger than Blocker. Swenson later guest-starred in an episode of Lorne Greene's short-lived crime drama Griff (1973).

Swenson is best known for her portrayal of Gretchen Kraus, the autocratic and acerbic German cook (later head housekeeper and budget director) in the TV sitcom Benson. She received the part by appearing in a multi-episode stint as Ingrid Svenson, the Swedish birth mother of Corinne Tate (Diana Canova), on the TV sitcom Soap, which had the same producers. She also appeared as northern matriarch Maude Hazard in the mini-series North and South in 1985 and again in 1986.

A life member of The Actors Studio, her favorite role was Lizzie Currie in the musical 110 in the Shade.

Personal life
Swenson is married to actor and singer Lowell Harris, with whom she had two children, sons Mark and James Harris; the latter died in a motorcycle crash in 1987, at age 26.

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Categories: 1932 births,20th-century American actresses,Actresses from Omaha, Nebraska,American stage actresses,American film actresses,American television actresses,Northwestern University alumni

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