Marilyn Borden Thiel, best known for her work on "I Love Lucy," passed away Wednesday, March 25, 2009, in Modesto, California. Marilyn and her twin sister Rosalyn (Roz) appeared in episode 112 of I Love Lucy entitled "Tennessee Bound," where they played the sheriff's daughters Teensy and Weensy.
Marilyn and Roz Borden were born May 29, 1932 in Hartford, CT to the late Harry and Elizabeth Borden. Their family was completed with the addition of younger sister Barbara thirteen years later. Their show business career began at age four performing on a local radio station with Ed Begley Sr. At a young age they had already become acquainted with several celebrities including Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. Harry and Elizabeth moved the family to California in 1948, further advancing career opportunities. The twins entered television in the 1950s appearing with Spike Jones and Martin and Lewis on the "Colgate Comedy Hour." While performing with Ed Wynn on "The Four Star Revue" they were introduced to Lucille Ball. Ball, so impressed by the girls, created a part for them on I Love Lucy. Their single episode aired on January 24, 1955, and the Borden Twins became icons to Lucy fans world wide.
Following Lucy the twins toured with Jimmy Durante and appeared on his TV series from 55-57. After their stint with Durante, the twins entered the nightclub circuit and helped open the famed Hotsy Totsy Club in San Francisco. They became known as Hotsy and Totsy. While working in nightclubs, they took time to entertain troops overseas. With the USO they traveled to Korea, Japan, and the South Pacific. In the 1970s, the twins returned to television appearing on numerous shows including "Maude," "CHiPS," and the 1976 Super Bowl Special with Andy Williams.
In subsequent decades they toured with Bob Newhart. They appeared as fitness experts on [the San Francisco based morning show] "A.M. San Francisco." Their last television appearance came in 1998, on the "All Star Tribute to Aaron Spelling," their co-star on Lucy. They became important additions at the Loving Lucy conventions in L.A. and The Lucy-Desi Days in Jamestown, NY.
The twins, Bay Area residents since 1960, and their husbands moved to Modesto, California in 2002. Marilyn lost her soul and "womb" mate when Roz passed away on January 23, 2003 but bounced back returning to the Jamestown convention that May, and for the last time in 2005. For the first time, she began singing solo in local Modesto shows and created an act known as the "Senior Divas" with Shirley Hausner and Elsie Merenda, accompanied by John Wyatt on Piano, John Ady on Bass, and her sister Barbara on Drums. Marilyn also had the privilege of opening for Bob Newhart with the Ernie Bucio Band in May, 2007.
Marilyn married Herman "Ted" Thiel on March 2, 1968, who remained her loyal fan and husband until his death in 2007. In addition to her sister Barbara, Marilyn is survived by her step-son, Ted Thiel III. Evins Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. A celebration of life will be held in May. You can leave condolences in the guestbook section of this website.
Marilyn and Roz always turned lemons into lemonade. Marilyn lived the words of her favorite song, "You'll find that life is still worthwhile, if you just SMILE."
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