Ruth Landers, Producer and Mother of Actresses Audrey Landers and Judy Landers, Dies at 85

Ruth Landers, who created the 1990s PBS kids show The Huggabug Club with her daughters, actresses Audrey Landers and Judy Landers, has died. She was 85.

A longtime resident of Sarasota, Florida, Landers died April 18 of natural causes, her family announced.

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Audrey Landers, 67, portrayed Afton Cooper on Dallas on and off for seven seasons and played the dancer Val Clarke in the 1985 big-screen version of A Chorus Line, directed by Richard Attenborough. Judy Landers, 65, was on such TV shows as Vega$, B.J. and the Bear and Madam’s Place.

Aimed at preschoolers, The Huggabug Club featured Audrey as Miss Audrey and Judy as Miss Judy, working opposite full-bodied puppets. Filled with songs and scripts written by Audrey, it aired on PBS from January 1995 to June 1997, followed by years of reruns.

Ruth also produced Ghost Writer (1989), featuring her daughters; Club Fed (1990), starring Judy; and California Casanova (1991), starring Audrey; and executive produced Circus Camp (2006), which included her daughters and other family members.

Ruth Béate Landers was born on May 17, 1938, in Frankfurt, Germany. Shortly after the Kristallnacht incidents in November 1938, she and her mother, grandmother and grandfather — the surviving members of her family — fled the Nazis for Shanghai.

She arrived in the U.S. in 1948 and in her mid-20s launched her own national printing company, Office Research Corp. Later, she managed the careers of her daughters and served as Audrey’s manager when she toured as a singer.

Ruth also co-founded the Landers Star Collection, providing affordable fashion to women through Home Shopping Europe, QVC and ShopNBC.

In addition to her daughters (Judy is married to former Dodgers reliever Tom Niedenfuer), survivors include her grandchildren, twins Daniel and Adam, Lindsey and Kristy; great-grandchildren Sawyer, Evangeline and Hendricks; and sister Esther.

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