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Thea White/Facebook; Cartoon Network/Courtesy Everett Collection
Thea White, who was known for voicing the character Muriel Bagge on Courage the Cowardly Dog, has died. She was 81.
The voice actress died on Friday morning after complications caused by liver cancer. White developed an infection after having the cancer removed, according to a statement by her brother John Zitzner. He wrote that she "died peacefully."
"Sadly we lost our legendary Feefer (the voice of Muriel) on Friday morning after she fought hard with courage to try to beat her liver cancer and to resume life or to die trying," Zitzner wrote on Facebook. "(She ended up with an infection after cutting out the damn cancer)."
Zitzner continued his post addressing his sister directly: "I've never met a person who knew you who didn't think you were the greatest person alive. That lasted even up through your stay in the hospital as I'm told the nurses and doctors also fell in love. You loved life and even [though] I know the final outcome I love your decision to go for it and to try to win."
White voiced Muriel, a kind elderly Scottish woman who adopts the titular dog Courage, on the beloved Cartoon Network program for the duration of its four-season run from 1999 to 2002. White revived the character on a few occasions, most recently for the crossover film Straight Outta Nowhere: Scooby-Doo! Meets Courage the Cowardly Dog, which premieres September 14 on DVD and digital platforms.
Many took to social media with tributes to the voice of Muriel Bagge. "Thank you Thea White for being a big part of my childhood, RIP," one person wrote on Twitter. "RIP Thea White. Courage the Cowardly Dog wouldn't have been the same without her," another posted. "She gave us so much," a fan wrote, posting a photo of herself in Muriel cosplay.
White was born June 16, 1940, in Newark, New Jersey. Her mother Eleanor and maternal grandmother Eva were both actresses, and White studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and the American Theater Wing.
The Broadway veteran began her acting career onstage in Dallas, Texas, before she worked as a personal assistant to screen legend Marlene Dietrich. After getting married and retiring from acting, she was a librarian in Livingston, New Jersey, until she was offered the part on Courage the Cowardly Dog.
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Thea met her late husband Andy White while performing in a staged production of George Axelrod's Goodbye Charlie. Andy was a Scottish drummer who appeared on The Beatles' 1962 debut single "Love Me Do." They were married from 1983 until his death in 2015.