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Bettye Ackerman Jaffe of ‘Ben Casey’ dies

Actress  died at her home in Columbia on Nov. 1, four days after a stroke.
/ Source: The Associated Press

Bettye Ackerman Jaffe, a star of the popular 1960s “Ben Casey” medical series and the widow of actor Sam Jaffe, has died. She was 82.

Bettye Jaffe died at her home in Columbia on Nov. 1, four days after a stroke, said her brother Robert Ackerman.

Born Feb. 28, 1924, in Walterboro, Jaffe was the oldest of four children. She grew up in Williston, where her father was the schools superintendent. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College in 1945, she moved to New York City and did graduate work in theater at Columbia University.

She made her film debut in the 1959 drama “Face of Fire” and made a number of guest appearances on TV series, including “Perry Mason” and “St. Elsewhere.”

Jaffe met her husband, Sam, when they appeared together in a New York stage production of Moliere’s “Tartuffe” in 1955. The couple married in 1956.

They often performed together, including on “Ben Casey.” She played an anesthesiologist, and he played Dr. David Zorba on the series, which ended in 1966. Their last joint TV performance was on “The Love Boat.”

Sam Jaffe died in 1984 at age 93.

In 1998, Bettye Jaffe sold her home in Beverly Hills, Calif., and moved to Columbia to be near family members. She was found to have Alzheimer’s disease a few years later, her brother said.