April 26, 2005 by

Debralee Scott


Categories: Actors, Hollywood

dscott.jpgDebralee Scott, an actress who appeared in sitcoms, movies and on game shows, died on April 5 of natural causes. She was 52.

The New Jersey native hailed from a show business family. Her sister, Scott Bushnell, produced many of director Robert Altman’s films; her other sister, Jeri Scott, became a talent manager. Debralee broke into Hollywood by playing an abducted girl in the 1971 film “Dirty Harry.”

At 22, Scott landed her first major role as Cathy Shumway on the 1970s sitcom “Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.” She next tackled the character Rosalie “Hotsy Totsy” Totzie in the TV comedy “Welcome Back, Kotter.” In the 1980s, Scott acted in “Police Academy” (1984) and “Police Academy 3: Back in Training” (1986), and found steady work appearing as a celebrity guest on the game shows “Match Game,” “Get Rich Quick,” “Riddlers,” “Hollywood Squares,” “The $20,000 Pyramid,” “The Family Feud,” “Chain Reaction” and “Password Plus.”

In recent years, Scott lived in New York City and worked as an agent with Empowered Artists. She was engaged to John D. Levi, a police officer with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, when he was killed in the Sept. 11th terrorist attacks.

179 Responses to Debralee Scott

  1. david

    Jeez…that’s sad. Her name popped into my head a couple of days ago, in fact, and I recalled that I had a huge crush on her waaaaaay back in the early 80s.



  3. raymond

    the fact that i still remember hotsie totsie after all these many decades shows what in impact she made on her television viewers. for some reason, i have this idea that such attractive women like her must be healthier than others, and thus destined to live longer than others. so her dying so young is quite a surprise.

  4. Dan Rakow

    I had a crush on Debralee Scott during the Late 1970’s when I was watching her on various Game Shows especially Match Game also I really enjoy when she played Angie’s younger sister Marie.
    God Bless You Debralee You’ll be in My heart forever.
    posted by Dan on May 16,2005 7:14PM

  5. Hannah Boston

    Debralee, one of my all-time favorite actresses, was also in “Earthquake”. She played the wife of a nerd-type architect or engineer. They were on a jet that was trying to take off just as the earth tremors were tearing up the runway!

  6. Mikki Yunt

    Her death came as a total shock to me. I always liked her frank and honest manner as well as her sense of humor. I watched her on “Happy Days” and loved her on Match game. Her style was very refreshing and I really liked her. She will be missed.

  7. Mark

    In response to the cause of death question, it’s quite sad really. Apparently after the death of her fiance, she supposedly lost it and began drinking heavily. She moved to Florida and from what I heard she drank herself to death. I just saw her this morning on a GSN rerun of PasswordPlus. R.I.P.

  8. Laura

    How very sad..
    fom what I read:
    The family of American TV star DEBRALEE SCOTT fear the actress slowly drank herself to death after failing to get over the death of her fiance in the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
    The WELCOME BACK KOTTER star was engaged to New York policeman DENNIS LEVI, who was among those caught in the Twin Towers when they collapsed after planes flew into them in 2001.

  9. Phil D

    I just read of Debralee Scott’s death what a sad tragedy. Reading the tributes I find I’m not the only hormoned 15 yr old that had a massive “crush” on this stunningly simply but, beautiful lady. I’m in shock as to her death, and thank Laura for shedding a little light on the cause of death. I know I hadn’t seen in any thing in recent years and I now know why..her impending engagement. She will be sadly missed and thought of fondly. Rest in peace and god bless sweet soul.

  10. Suzy S.

    I always liked Debralee Scott and will never forget her! Her unique looks, particularly that cute overbite and her funny line from American Graffiti, “ain’t he neat?” as she sat next to Harrison Ford in his car.

  11. rick young

    ive always been a big fan of hers and it really saddened me to find out she is gone. i feel a loss. seriously.
    she was very cute and unique. but most of all she was hilarious. she and doris roberts were the only reasons i watched angie. they had great mother daughter chemistry. she was also a riot on welcome back kotter and the police academy movies.
    i really hope she did not suffer too much because she brought me a lot of joy and laughter.
    rest in peace

  12. rachael

    I was only a kid in the 70’s when she obviously made her impact, but for the past several years I have been watching match game reruns, and she really struck me as a woman with a fun, beautiful nature about her. Tonight I was watching her, yet again, and got a bad feeling something had happened to her. Unfortunately I looked her up on the internet and found she had passed. I hope she is resting peacefully with her love.

  13. Beth

    I was on the other site Dead or Alive and was looking up people that had passed recently and was totally stunned to see Deb’s name. She was a talented actress and a funny person on the game shows she appeared on. I hate that no one was there to help her through her tragedy of 9/11, it is so sad. Maybe she is at peace and she’ll never be forgotten. Especially the beautiful head of hair she had……Blessed Be her soul….

  14. Konrad

    I didnt know much about her until recently but my hope is that she rests in peace and is now re-joined with her late fiance where ever they both may be 🙂

  15. Debralee

    My mother named me after Debralee Scott. I always wondered who she was and what she looked like. It’s very sad to know that she is no longer alive. It’s very weird though, I grew up and married a man with the last name Scott. So I was named after her first name, but now I also have her last name!

  16. John

    I always liked Welcome Back Kotter, and Debralee seemed to be at her best on the show. She did a great job of fitting in a cast with a strong identity. She was funny and pretty and very sexy. I was shocked to find out she had passed away at 52. One of the reasons I moved to Brooklyn was because that show reminded me of all the good times I had there and the pretty girls I’d met there. Ended up marrying one of them. I find it sad to see that she’s gone. I hope that she’s happy now. God bless her.

  17. Richard Crystal

    I remember running into her in the early 80s in a Los Angeles fast-food restaurant. She was lovely and even at 30 retained that “little girl lost” innocent look. She was always one of my favorite character actresses and I am glad we have those old sitcom re-runs to watch her.

  18. Shari

    I was really sad to learn that she passed away-I remember her on Welcome Back Kotter, but I loved her as Marie on the show Angie. She always reminded me of my older cousin who I thought was the coolest.

  19. karen

    I remember Debralee Scott vividly, she was from my era. For some reason she was one of the celebrities that didnt seem at all inacessible or hollywood. SHe wasnt classicly pretty but she was very cute and she played a certain role to perfection. Its very sad that in a few short years she could drink herself to death. Im sorry that she didnt feel she had anything else to live for after her fiance’s death.
    peace to her.

  20. John T Martin

    I have always wanted as much infomation on Debralee, pitures or whatever, have been a fan for along time. I tryed to see every movie she was in or on tv. I am having a hard time writing this having just learned of her death..6/12/05. I was so sorry for her loss of her fiance’s death on 9/11. I always loved to see her smile, my heart feels a loss and I feel for her friends and family, those that really knew her, I’m just a fan that loved her. Heaven has another Angel, may God bless her and keep her.
    tears, john



  22. Lu

    i still watch her late at night on matchgame…. had a major crush on her during the mary hartmann years……rest in peace…. i feel soooo old…

  23. eddie edwards

    i can’t believe it! i was just watching ‘Match Game’ on the game show network and did an internet search. 9/11 and alcoholism to put it short, damn. she was just too cute (even as an older woman) and spunky to die. Didn’t she have any children? What a waste! well, at least she made it past the child actress syndrome.

  24. Riky

    I was so sorry to see that Debralee had died. I enjoyed watching the shows she was in and the game shows she delighted us with. I still enjoy seeing her on the Match Game shown on GSN. Rest in PEACE Debralee — you’ll be missed!

  25. Bob G

    Debralee Scott will surely be missed. Two of my favourite shows from the 70s are Welcome Back Kotter and Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. I finally had a chance to meet her while I was working as an extra on Police Academy 3. The very last scene shot (but not included in the movie) was more of a celebration of a job well done. All the “police officers” on set gathered in front of the camera to throw our hats in the air in celebration. My hat landed next to Debralee’s, and we had the opportunity for a brief but memorable chat.

  26. jerome hazelwood

    i don’t believe it.welcome back kotter,mary hartman.wow.has anyone seen her in the movie pandemonium.she was so funny with carol kane and judge reinhold

  27. Jeff Jancarek

    How sad to learn of Debralee’s passing. It seems to me that in addition to the drinking, she must have died of a broken heart too…Maybe we can all take a lesson from this, and reach out to those in our realm who need us…whether it be a phone call, a card or letter, a funny email, or even just a smile to a complete stranger…you just never know who is depressed and desperate and maybe that smile will do the trick…Sweet peace and eternal joy to you dear Debralee…

  28. Linda

    I remember her well. Why isn’t she getting credit for being Brooke on All My Children? My memory of her is that of the original Brooke who came into her Aunt Phoebe’s life.
    It’s sad that she had to leave this Earth so young. I like to think she is in a better place now and reunited with her beloved John.
    May she rest in peace.

  29. Scott

    Wow….I was shocked and saddened to hear of Debralee’s untimely passing. I will remember her charm and wit on Match Game and those beautiful eyes of hers. Rest in peace…we will miss you.

  30. Pete The Cat

    Initially connecting in San Francisco…two out of work actors, planning our move to Hollywood..Back in the day, Debralee was a close friend. I would drive her from her Hollywood Hills pad out to my place in Malibu. She loved to wake up to Joni Mitchell’s “Out Of My Head” tune from “Ladies Of The Canyon”. She would dance around wildly, singing along…and explain to me later that this was her way to prepare for the day.
    We played one or two games of Volley Ball out in the Bu..stayed in touch briefly..until she went her way and I went mine.Very, very sad to hear of her passing while glancing at the “Memoriam” section in the “Screen Actor”.
    Rest in Peace, beautiful lady of the Canyon…

  31. Randy

    What a shock! I didn’t know Debralee had passed when I googled her….I’ve been a huge fan and admirer since her days in Sons And Daughters with Glynnis O’Connor.
    Rest In Peace

  32. Richard Ranke

    I remember seeing Debralee in the movie Summer Without Boys-as well as Welcome Back Kotter,Mary Hartman,Angie…and many game shows.I thought she was great on Angie and I remember her fondly from Mary Hartman.I loved how she was on a Family Feud prime-time special with the cast of Angie-and scored the most points,causing Angie to beat Dukes of Hazard in the celebrity-family games.Richard Dawson said Debralee had set a record for most points in a PT Family Feud.

  33. Tammy & Warren Boule

    Debra you were the sweetest person we ever met. We were hoping to meet and see you again in Los Angeles at another autograph show function. We have our photos that you signed and have lit a candle in your memory. May the angels take care of you and your love in the heavens above. We will miss you dearly!

  34. Terry

    What an a amazingly funny and gifted lady she was, and of course still is in all the hearts of those that learned to appreciate her comic abilities. Personally, I am comforted by the fact that there is a smiling and funny angel around us all now.

  35. leo

    debra lee u was my ginger.. only red headed girl i want on island.. gawd i miss u and love u.. u made me smiled.. may ur life be as heaven.. u was to me..

  36. dave

    Debralee, i’ll miss you. You were a great talent. Another light has dimmed on earth, only to be replaced by a star in the heavens. (Does anyone know where she is buried?)

  37. Katie

    I remember Debralee all the way back from Earthquake in 1975 to Welcome Back Kotter. She had great comedic timing, and she was always a joy to watch besides being cute as a button. Peace be with you.

  38. duane gilbert

    i loved everything she said and did. now i must by everthing she was in. it does’nt say here when she died, someone please tell me. bless her sweet heart and soul.

  39. brian

    I can’t believe the news of Debralee’s passing..as a fellow New Yorker..i can understand her pain of Sept. 11..so young and beautiful she was..i remember her when i was a young kid..she was all over and very visible in TV land..may God bless her sweet soul and condolences to her family.

  40. James P

    I’ve only just read of Debralee’s passing . . . truly a shock. Seeing her in Mary Hartman left a lasting impression on me. What a sad, sad end for a sweet, funny, sexy & real person.

  41. JamesW.

    Being the same age as Debralee, I suddenly feel old. I still see her as the akward, but perky young girl that I had a king sized crush on. I still remember one episode of Celebrity Family Fued where she came across as genuinely humble. I figured she would be the one that lived forever. Damn those terrorist!

  42. skilgore

    imdb.com lists death as:
    Ironically, she died in Florida shortly after moving there from New York City to help an ailing sister. One day she collapsed and was in a coma for several days but awoke in the hospital and seemed to be fine for a spell. She was released two days later on her birthday. No explanation was given for the coma, but she seemed fine and in good spirits. Three days later she went to take a nap and never woke up. Cause of death uncertain despite an autopsy. She was cremated.

  43. Leslie

    I was shocked like most everyone else was by Debralee’s sudden death. Such a talented funny young Lady who will be missed as much by Her loyal fans as She is missed by Her family members as well. GOD BLESS!

  44. Toni

    Last night ‘Welcome Back Kotter’ was on televsion, I show I haven’t seen in many years. I think it was one of the very first shows of the series, and Debralee kept doing a ‘SweatHogs’ cheer for their debate.
    I remembered my brother after 9/11 asking me if I remembered the red haired girl on that show, and told me a bout the death of her partner. I knew her name immediately~to his surprise. He asked how did I remember Debralee Scott’s name? Well, obviously something about Debralee sticks with you~~
    Today I thought I would google Debralee and see what was new~~and to my shock I found she had passed away. I have spent time on and off today reading various things about her~~and regarding her death, and I think no matter what the cause of death is reported as, it’s quite clear that this lady died of a broken heart.
    I am saddend that this close after the anniversary of 9/11 that we see this tragedy has claimed another person.
    I am happy to see that many other people have had Debralee Scott also stick with them after all these years, and remember her fondly.
    Rest peacefully~much love

  45. shawn

    I was glad to see Debralee back on T.V. in re- runs and very shocked to here about her sudden passing. I am sure she died of a broken heart.
    The georgeous red head with the overbite is definately smiling down on her family, friends, and fans and keeping everyone, in heaven, in stitches, with her quirky comments and remarks.
    Treat her right up there. Luv ya Deb!

  46. Marc

    Wow! I did a search on her earlier in the year after watching ‘American Graffiti’ or maybe it was ‘Earthquake’ and then didn’t think much of it.
    I am watching ‘Dirty Harry’ right now and had remember reading somewhere that the Maryanne Deacon part (no lines or even close ups) was played by Debra Lee Scott so I decided to do a Google search and I find this, that she sadly passed away in April. 🙁
    Those I was only 10 years old I do remember her from ‘Welcome Back Kotter’ and other films/TV shows from my childhood.
    I’m quite saddened by this, miss ya Deb.

  47. JUGL11

    Damn! Another cultural icon gone. I just learned of her passing today – 1 day after Don Adams’ death & about a week after Bob Denver. Her role as Rosalie Totzie on “Welcome Back, Kotter” was very memorable.
    And…she was a little younger than me – scary!
    RIP, Debralee. You had an impact on the world.

  48. Dave

    Let us not forget that she was not only beautiful but also smart. She was the only person in the history of the family feud to get all 5 number 1 answers in the lightening round.

  49. Warren

    Scott continued to act, appearing in two “Police Academy” movies, including the first, but she later retired from acting and became an agent. In 2001, her fianc

  50. Rosana Modugno

    I remember Deb when she played Rosalie “Hotsy Totsy”. Then I remember seeing a lot of her on television on game shows but was always anxious to see her do more. She seemed like a very nice lady. I feel sad that I just found this site to post this on but here is to you Deb. You’ll be missed.

  51. Jim McKeon

    I am saddened and shocked by this news.I knew
    Debbi when she was a teenager,as we went to school together and became friends.She had the most beautiful,natural, fiery red hair I had ever seen. A most genuine, smart,funny and downright cute girl!
    I must say that she did what she said she was going to do;”I am going out to California and get into the movie business”. Well done,Deb! My condolences to her family…such a loss.

  52. ted

    I remember debralee as a sweet, fun loving young woman whom I went out with for a short period of time. I was working on Mary Hartman and we were old San Francisco theatre people who ended up in LA. What was real about her was when the public came over for autographs at the table when we were out, she always introduced me to them..

  53. Kristie

    I read about Debralee’s passing some time ago and was saddened.
    Foe some reason she came to my mind this morning and searched her. What nice things people on this site has said in tribute to her.
    She did seem like a sweet, genuine person.
    May she rest in peace.

  54. Tre

    I JUST NOW discovered the passing of Debralee after reading Equity News’ Final Curtain. Afterward, I googled IMDB and discovered the “natural causes” phrase. Thanks to these tributes, I was able to find out the truth about Debralee – an all time favorite of mine. She had a vulnerability and innocence about her, even as an adult. I was touched (to say the least) to discover the circumstances which lead to her death. I’m not certain which is more horrible; September 11th, 2001 or the ripple effect of those events that not only continue to this day but will continue for many years to come.
    Debralee must have loved with all of her heart, which is something few people can achieve.
    We love you Debralee….and on a personal note, I would have probably done the same.
    Rest peacefully.

  55. "Miss Mona"

    Thank you for being a part of my life. Ran across this on Thanksgiving Day which really gave me time to reflect. You took me on as a client in Hollywood with Empowered Artists and I appreciated that. God Bless You eternally and much healing to your family.

  56. Jim

    First Meredith Macrae back in 2000 now Debra Lee
    Two of my most favorets.
    Hope Debra Lee and her love are kicking the $#!% out of Ata and his slime!

  57. James

    Debra has touched many people as can be seen through these many posts! She was a great actress and person….this world has lost a gem. I hope she has found peace and will continue to live in all our memories. We love and miss you Debralee!

  58. patty

    You know, I saw the usual list of year end memoriams, and the only one that actually gave me a pang was for Debralee. I was 5 years younger than her and watching Kotter, wanted that “mouth” when it came to dealing with the boys. Plus she was so sweet on Match Game, retro-recognizable in Graffiti, and just like the girls here on Long Island – a tough chick. As someone said above, not a classic beauty, but a classic 70s girl. Rest baby girl.

  59. Richard

    I met Debralee about 7 years ago. I understood from a friend that Debralee became very obese in the last few years and ‘natural causes’ were related to her being overweight. She was a very nice person when I met her. I enjoyed the brief 30-40 minute visit -we had a mutual friend. I don’t think she smoked, based on my contact with her.

  60. Jim

    NOT ONE!!!!!!! NOT ONE!!!!! news program, news paper or entertainment program mention her passing!!
    People like Johny C0ckroach who get murderers off get mentioned but not Debra Lee!
    But then I guess if you die from a broken heart your not worth mentioning!
    Makes me sick!

  61. Gary

    I learned last night from “www.deadoralive” that you passed away in 2005. My heart is so sad. I can’t even begin to write how I feel. I will always remember you as Hotsy Totsy and I had such a crush on you even though we never met. The world lost a treasure. I also barely remember you being Doddie in ‘My Three Sons’ Even at that age you were a knockout. I sure did have a lust for you.. and admiration. I have to stop now. I am nearly in tears. The news never even reported it but like another poster wrote.. they mention Johnny CoRoach who got OJ off.. Tragic..
    RIP Princess..

  62. Paul

    I was shocked to learn of her passing. I saw her in Mary Hartman,Welcome Back Kotter and in Police Acadamy. She was a bright, cheery, beautiful and witty actress. As mentioned above, she did not appear as Doddie in My Three Son’s(1969-1972). The actress that played Dodie was Dawn Lyn , born on 11 January 1963, in Los Angeles, California (as per IMDB.com. Debralee Scott would have been too old to play the part of a 6 year old in 1969. She will be sadly missed. 9-11 keeps hurting us all even more.

  63. Patty

    I just saw Debralee on Match Game (GSN) and she made a comment that she would never grow old. She fulfilled her own prophesy. As it is known “only the good die young” Rest in Peace Debralee.

  64. Jim Sibley

    I was shocked when I read about her passing. I was looking at a different site and it mentioned her death. I don’t recall any news reports or anything like that.
    She was a cute, vivacious girl that could bring a smile to anyone’s face. She added comedic spice to anything appeared in.
    I will surely miss her. May she rest in peace.

  65. Tammy Weston

    Like Jim, I was on another website and saw that she had passed. I, like everyone else was shocked to see her name mentioned among some of the great talents who’ve died this past year. Debralee was one of those great talents. I remember seeing her on “Mary Hartman, M.H.” she was so good at anything she did. I could go on and on. I will miss seeing her. Thank goodness for re-runs! 🙂

  66. John Fitzgerald

    Wow…I am 50..and this is a sobering moment. she was the girl in the back of the room that got to you…first saw her in Kotter and used to just peek in on the show just for her. All of you guys of my generation remember those “Debralee Scotts” in HS and College. They put a skip in your heart.
    May you rest in Peace!

  67. Jim

    Its too bad Debra Lee could not have joined with the other’s who lost loved ones in the 9-11 attacks.
    She could have been a powerful voice for keeping alive the memory of all those who were murdered.
    I have a friend whose nieghbor works for the local power company and his daughter was killed in the plane that crashed into the south tower.
    Lets hope the oscars at lest mention her passing
    No one else has!!!!

  68. Tia

    I can’t believe I never heard anything about her death. It just shows how little Hollywood knows about true talent anymore. I remember her on M.Hart., Welcome Back Kotter, Angie and Matchgame. I literally grew up watching her, I can’t even hear the w.b.k. theme song without getting misty. I will miss her great comedic timing and sense of humor (let’s not forget her beautiful feathered hair) I hope she is at peace now with her loved one. I’ll miss her.

  69. Brian

    I just heard today that Debra Lee had passed. I loved her and am saddened to hear abou the last several years of her life. Damn terrorists-another innocent person lost.

  70. Jim

    Very upsetting!
    The Academy Awards did not mention Debra’s passing!
    But they mentioned people I have never heard of before,
    Then what would you expect since they awarded an Oscar to a bunch of rappers singing about Killing, Pimps, Hoes and Beaches!
    Not one award ceremony mentioned her passing!

  71. Ron Miller

    I live on Amelia Island and knew Debralee and her older sister “Scotty” Bushnell. My wife Linda helped them unpack when they moved into her new house. We were to have dinner with her the day before she died but called and cancelled because of her illness. Her eyes were completely red and she apoligized and assured me that it was because of eye surgery.Scotty was also very sick and moved back to California after Debralee’s death. Debralee moved to Amelia Island to help take care of her older sister. Debralee was still very pretty with short, sassy red hair and a pretty smile. Rest in peace Debra. Ron and Linda Miller

  72. Gary

    Ironically I met you while you filmed “Police Academy” in Canada. Being a cop it seemed only right we “hang-out” together for the next year. You shared your home, fun, love and friendhsip while I visited California…seemed only right you and John were to marry 🙂 – may you be together now, I think of you often, be blessed my sweet friend. “Fidelas ad Mortem”

  73. Jef Anderson

    I just read this now, almost an entire year later.
    I really liked this girl and in ones’ mind, you forget how much time really has passed since those stars of the seventies were as they were.
    I remember Debralee, oddly enough, in an episode of Love Boat from the first season when she portrayed a sort-of ‘ugly-ducklingish’ type. It always touched my heart to see this particular show and think of what she represented about being ones’ self and not giving up on who and what we are.
    That is probably a lot to say about an episode of Love Boat, but what can I say, she had a spark.
    Rest in Peace, and thanks for a gentle reminder from the distant past.

  74. Tanya Brooks

    I remember seeing Debralee on Welcome Back Kotter because I grew up loving Travolta…I always thought she was so pretty…I just learned of this too, and you’re all right nothing has ever been said about it…some people just don’t appreciate greatness!! Love ya, Hotsy!

  75. Robert

    I happened to scan the TV listings today and saw that Police Academy was scheduled. I watched the opening credits, expecting to see Phoebe Kates name, but instead of Phoebe I saw Debralee Scott listed.
    Since I was in love with her from the MH, MH days I watched the film. I saw that she had changed, but I’ll alwas remember as Cathy Schumway.
    Then I Googled just to check up on her and was totally shocked to learn of her tragic premature demise.
    Rest in peace, Cathy

  76. Carol McGovney

    In loving memory of a wonderful friend and woman. Debralee was not obese and had been sick on and off for a couple of years. Losing her fiance JD in 9/11 so horrible, JD spoke to her after the 1st plane hit and was sent into the 2nd bldg; waiting for them to find him was unimaginable torture to her. We have been friends since the 70’s and there isn’t a day that I don’t miss her. Debralee took me on my first trip to NY in the 70’s and Oh What a Time We Had. She was a gift to the world and to me. Hope you are looking down on us with those beautiful tinkling impish eyes, Love you Debra,
    Studio City

  77. Dave Hallerman

    I had a rare and fine connection with Debralee Scott.
    She was my partner when I was on the game show “$20,000 Pyramid” in 1977. And we won, she helped me win, and she cared about winning (that’s what made for the good celebrity partners on that show).
    We even did it again, later that year, when the show had a “Tournament of Champions” bringing back eight of us civilians along with our celebrity partners. We didn’t win that time, but we got close…and again, she cared.
    Because of this history, I was thinking about her the other day, and just found out that she had died last year. And as a New Yorker, I know how 9-11 hit us all. I was very sad and upset to have heard she died, and how she died.
    A true loss.

  78. Tina

    I knew Deb from years ago when my Dad was performing in Vegas. She was in her second season on Kotter. We net there several times. She was a doll and we had so much fun. We had lost touch. I was so saddened to hear about it. She was too young. I hope that she is in peace.

  79. Tammy

    Still saddened by her passing….I check back every once in awhile and my heart warms when I read everyones kind words for Debra…even though I never had the pleasure to know her personally, she made you feel like you were her friend through her characters. For those of you who did know her personally..I thank you for sharing your memories. Take Care all.

  80. Heather

    It’s so sad to hear of someone passing before their time. I remember seeing her on tv when I was a child, and envying her beautiful hair and overbite! I recall walking around with my top front teeth stuck out over my bottom lip because I wanted to look like her! Wasn’t she the older sister of Leif Garrett? If so, what a tragic life they’ve all had!

  81. Colin

    I am so sad to just now have read of her death…I always have remembered this pert and pretty redhead, especially on tv in the late 70’s…especially on the tv showings of “Earthquake”…I loved her cute silliness. She seemed like such a sweet and funny person.
    Wish I had met her and have gotten her autograph.
    Oh well, I look forward to seeing her in heaven someday.

  82. Katie Cunningham

    I went to high school with Debbie in Stroudsburg, Pa. We lived around the corner from each other. She and I used to have a contest who could wear the shortest skirt to school without getting sent home. She was bubbly and fun. We kept in touch for a while then our lives went in different directions. I find it ironic that dying at 52 is considered “natural”. Not for her it isn’t.

  83. Hope Alexander

    SCOTTY BUSHNELL, Debbie’s older sister, died on July 13th in Saint Joseph’s Hospital in Burbank,CA. Scotty had been ill for quite sometime with emphysema and an aortic aneurysm.
    Scotty had been a producer and costume designer for Robert Altman for 25 years when she suffered heart problems over 11 years ago.
    In her final days she was well taken care of by myself and her housekeeper, Ana…and she still managed to laugh A LOT! The day before she died, I asked her what I could do for her she said, “Trade places with me”.Hilarious!!
    She was a great old broad and I miss her already…

  84. J. Mesa

    Debralee….though I saw you in Welcome back, kotter, it was in Just Tell Me You Love Me that i first heard of you. I am sorry you died, when I found out, it was a shock….goodby, sweet Debralee…..

  85. Katie Cunningham


  86. Jim Miller

    Just saw Debralee on a Welcome Back Kotter rerun
    on http://www.in2tv.com and on an episode of Match Game
    on GSN. Thought I’d Google her and find out what
    she was up to these days. I, like everyone else,
    am very shocked to learn of her passing. My sister died from drinking too much also. I do
    think tho that “broken heart” is a much more appropriate cause of death. I pray that Debralee
    is reunited in Heaven with her fiancee and I also
    pray that God holds those terrorists accountable
    for each innocent life that was taken on 9/11
    and for the impact that day had on many other
    innocent people like Debralee. Rest in peace,
    my favorite Sweathog. You seem to be pretty cool and I wish I coulda met you.

  87. jeff

    i’ve always had a thing for redheads, and she was the best and cutest of them all. i’ve been watching her on ‘match game’ lately, and like other people, i thought i would google her and see what she was up to. like everyone else, i was shocked by her death. debralee will always have a special place in my heart as my favorite redhead(and my first celebrity crush). rest in peace debralee, you will never by forgotten.

  88. Darrell

    God I miss Debralee. I sit here watching a re-run of Match Game where she was regular fill in. Man I had such a crush on her. No she was not the most beautiful woman on the planet but there was just something about her that made ya go Hmmm.
    Debralee, I hope that you have finally found peace. I hope to see you when I get there.

  89. JCS

    I am surprised that Debralee broke into Hollywood and show business in a Dirty Harry film. I thought she was a child actor. I could have sworn I just saw her in a Gunsmoke Episode as a cute little girl of about 8 – 10 yrs old.
    So sad about her passing as they say she did, particularly on this day 9/11/06. Thx.

  90. Melody

    Remember her a bity from mary Hartmann, but wasn’t she also a kid actor on a sitcom, and wasn’t her name on that sitcom Dody? Anyone out there who might know? I really liked her on everything I saw.

  91. David

    I was saddened to hear of Debralee’s death,& her fiance being killed on 9/11. Seeing the 9/11 Tributes on Tv 5 years later with the names
    of the deceased on the screen, including her fiance John Levi, reminded me of some of some of her tv & movie appearances which unfortunately don’t get shown anymore. Perhaps repeating some of the other comments would be appropriate here: From her friendliness to an extra in Police Academy to “even though I never had the pleasure
    to know her personally she made you feel like you were her friend through her characters” to “she was bubbly & fun”, she was special & will be missed by all.
    David Ny

  92. Dave Koczot

    I went to high school with Debrallee in Stroudsburg. We kissed a few times in the hall ways. Kisses i never forgot. I have always thought about her thru the years. I finaly decided to do a Google scearch to see what she was up to. I couldn’t beleive my eyes when i saw that she had passed away.Now my heart is broken.
    I will never forget you Deberalee!!!

  93. Helen Eiden

    Debralee Scott died of Cirrhosis of the liver. 4 years after her finace’ died in NYC September 11. I think it was too much for her to take and she died of a broken heart with help.

  94. Jack Fleming

    I also attended Stroudsburg High School in Pennsylvania with Debralee. (Other classmates, Jim and David, have also submitted posts on this site.) Debralee and I were in the same Latin class with Mr. Rapp as our teacher.
    I was watching American Graffiti yesterday and decided to google “Debralee Scott” and found this site. It’s unbelievable how some lives turn out.
    I still remember Debralee in the late 60’s as a very cute, energetic, and sassy teenager. She told all of us that she was going to Hollywood to be in movies and the next thing we knew, she was with Clint in “Dirty Harry”. Way to go, Debralee! You will be truly missed.

  95. Karin

    Two people mentioned that Debralee played Dodie on “My Three Sons.”
    Dodie was played by Dawn Lynn NOT Debralee Scott although they do look quite a bit alike.

  96. Larry Brooks

    I always felt she had such a sexy quality about her without exposing her flesh. That is a quality that is hard to find. She also seemed to be a genuinely pleasant person.
    I fear she didn’t really die of alcoholism but rather of a broken heart.
    Such a sad set of cirucumstances. This also shows how far-reaching the Twin Tower attacks can be.

  97. Tammy

    I have been watching Matchgame re-runs and missing Debralee. Her humor was in perfect timing. She didn’t need to try to be sexy, she just was. She knew how to be herself and have fun. Thanks to Karin for clearing up the mix-up between Debralee and DAWN LYNN (who happens to be Leif Garrett’s younger sister) ..they do look alike, but that’s it. I do have another comment: I think it’s very sad for people to even THINK that Debralee was an alcholic….she was such a wonderful person and simply died of a broken heart..it is our responsibility as her fans and friends to protect her name and person.
    She gave us so much of herself..now it’s our turn to give to her. We love you Deb!!



  99. Linda Harris

    I was watching a rerun of Password Plus this morning and Debralee was on there. I just got a weird feeling about her and looked her up on the internet and was shocked to see that she had passed away almost 2 yrs ago on my husband’s birthday. I always thought she was so cute and I enveyed her thick hair. RIP sweetie!

  100. Joe Jarosz

    I too just saw a rerun of Password Plus this morning. Actually I was looking up what year Alan Ludden passed. Also, I found out that Richard Paul, the other celebrity on the show had also Passed. I found Debra Lee to be very sexy in a way that was different from other “hot” actresses. She was more like someone you would know closely, not distant living in a 30,000 sq. ft. mansion in California. She had way too many “bit parts”. She deserved more staring roles. Here’s to you DL.

  101. peter

    yeah – I had to look online after flippin the channels and spotting her on match. Whatta shame. She was always a pleasure to watch but I I really fell for her in “Mary Hartman”.
    Rest in peace

  102. Edward Tolan

    How sad it was to hear of Debbie’s passing. I was a senior at Stroudsburg HS in Stroudsburg,Pa. when she was a sophmore. We were both in a Latin-Greek class with a teacher-Mr Rapp. It was a great class and we had fun. I remember teasing Debbie about going to Hollywood to become a movie-star. Imagine my surprise when I saw her sitting next to Harrison Ford in “American Graffitti”. I also saw her in the Police academy movies and Kotter. Debbie definitely won the shortest skirt contest someone referred to, but she was a very nice young lady. May she rest in peace.

  103. Les

    I knew Debralee in grade school. I was thrilled when I saw her in Mary Hartman. I was extremely sadden
    when I found out of her passing.

  104. Ginny Flynn

    I just found out today that Debralee had died. I liked watching her on the match game. I liked her first name so much I named my daughter after her. My daughter is naow 25 and is a great person. Just like Debralee Scott. Rest in peace Debralee!

  105. John Nicholson

    Dearest Debralee:
    I worked with her for several months back in 1976 when she was doing “MARY HARTMAN MARY HARTMAN”. She had been on my mind so much lately that I just had a feeling something had happened to her. Only moments ago I “Googled” her name and was given the very sad news.
    I was with her five days a week for several months. We laughed and laughed and shared many jokes amongst us. I was blueprinting a new season for the “Hartman” show that unfortunately never had a chance to happen. At that time Debralee was flying to New York for the weekend EVERY FRIDAY only to return on Monday to once again begin filming. “A VITAMIN B SHOT DOES THE TRICK EVERY TIME, HON” she used to tell me.
    God bless you Debralee…what fond memories I have to cherish.
    Your buddy,
    John D. Nicholson

  106. jennifer


  107. mark

    I am sad to hear of her passing, I too had a crush on her when i was a young man. I wish there were a way for a network to dig up some reruns of “Angie” tapes to show on a marathon in debs memory. my mother too drank herself to death. we will miss you deb.

  108. Andrew Chastain

    Her death should be counted as a result of 9/11 since her fiancee was killed in the attack and she was indirectly also a 9/11 victim. She was my favorite actress and still a very attractive lady even today. I always try to watch the shows she appeared in. She will never be forgotten.

  109. Peter Lebuis

    I have been busy, thanks to IMDb, revisiting the television shows from my youth. I came across Debralee’s name and discovered that she died a few years ago. I was shocked, I remember how much she made me laugh. I thought she was great. Now I just want to go back and watch all those great television moments again! Thank goodness for reruns!!!

  110. David A.

    I had no idea that Debralee Scott had died – and over two years ago. We were watching our daily Tivo’d episodes of Match Game and Debralee Scott was on them and she always made me laugh. I especially remember her as Marie Falco, opposite Donna Pescow and Doris Roberts on “Angie” – loved that short-lived show.
    This evening, I just thought I’d go online and find out what those that were on Match Game ‘way back when’ were up to in 2007…and I knew that Chas. Nelson Reilly died in May….but never expected to read that Debralee had passed. Shocked…and believe it or not, my wife and I had considered this name for a daughter should we ever have one.
    Strange that I never heard about it on the news in 2005 or anything. Bizarre.
    May Miss Scott rest in peace.

  111. Jeffrey

    I remeber Debra when I was 10 years old,and she played Hotsie Totsie on Welcome Back Kotter. I am so much in love with her. She left us way to soon. I wish we could’ve met when she was still with us.

  112. Len Struglinski

    I was channel surfing last night and came across Police Academy 3. As soon as I saw Debralee I flashed back to her Mary Hartman days. I jumped on line to see what she was doing today only to learn she is no longer with us. What a tragedy.
    I will always remember her by the way she wore her hair in PA3. After reading the blog I can fully understand her depression but it just speaks volumes about the dangers of alcohol and drugs. Just think of John Belushi, and all the other talented stars who died as a result of overdosing on various drugs and alcohol.
    Debralee, you are missed, you had legions of fans who would have helped you had we only known of your depression and alcoholism. Hopefully you are now in a better place and resting in complete peace.

  113. Dave

    I, too, am saddened to hear of Debralee’s passing. Though I never watched Kotter or Mary Hartman, I did become aware of her via the boxed set of the Match Game that was released earlier this year. She is on at least 2 of the episodes in the set. A word of warning–there is some sort of problem with some of the discs and they may not play properly on your DVD player. They may play well on your computer, though. It’s a shame that she couldn’t find someone to comfort her through her grief.

  114. Unclemymy

    I just found out – I can’t believe how sad this makes me. She is responsible for my fascination with redheads – and the overbite was irresistable! I hope there is a heaven where we can meet people that we remember in this way.

  115. Patty M.

    I, like many others, was thinking of Debralee and decided to look her up and was shocked to hear what happened to her. She was darling. I have an 18 year old daughter who has an overbite too. I often think of Debralee when I look at my daughter. I hope she had a wonderful life. I was wondering if she had ever been married or had any children. I never heard anything about her in such a long time.
    Patty from Lancaster

  116. David

    I used to sneak downstairs to watch Mary Hartman when my mom wasn’t looking, when I was like, 8, and I had a little crush on her. My big sister loved her clothes and pretty much dressed like her.
    I had no idea about the 9/11 connection, so thanks. Too bad she died drinking to cope. I didn’t even know she had passed away. But I can relate, if you know what I mean.

  117. Dene (dean)

    Being a Brit, I didn’t recognise her by name as I was watching her on PasswordPlus. But I did recognise her face, looked her up on the net, and was very saddened to read the news above. I already miss you, you lovely looking creature!

  118. Gary Rubie

    That time of year again when you come to mind…. what you shared with me in a year has stayed with me for over 20 years….and will remain with me for a lifetime…..Merry Christmas baby……

  119. john

    I just learned about Debralee’s passing today after browsing through a “gone too soon” tribute site on youtube. I was truly saddened to learn this news so late. I can still recall how sweet and likeable she was when I saw her in “Earthquake” all those years ago and of course all of her game show appearances. RIP

  120. Brittany

    Eventhough I never got to meet you, my pops was proud of you, and so am I. Always loved, Never Forgotten, Cousin Brittany.

  121. Greg

    just learned of her passing…was watching a rerun of American Graffiti..and I thought hey I recognize her…so sad to here of here passing…like many above recall the shows, movies but really recall that smile and hair…RIP in Gods loving care forever

  122. mary ann

    I just turned on Password and there she is…I never knew anything about her.I am shocked to read she died.Her birthday is the same day as mine.

  123. Anne Lockhart

    How I miss my Debra. We met on a Hallmark Hall of Fame Special (Lisa Bright and Dark) in 1972, and became instant friends. We roomed together for the next 4 years and struggled as young actresses to get jobs and pay our rent. Our laughter kept us going. (plus lots of pasta and hot dogs!)
    Debra and I remained best friends for 30 years. I last spoke to her 48 hours before her death. She was, of course, very funny, even as she laid in a hospital bed. She battled demons bigger that most of us can ever imagine. She waged her war with the only weapon she had at her disposal, her gifted and brilliant humor. Unfortunately, the wrong tool to fight her disease. My two beautiful children called her “Auntie Em”. She loved that, and especially enjoyed her visits with me and kids.I think of her daily and miss her so. Again, with another anniversary of her passing, I am so missing her, and so grateful for the gift she was. The truth is, in spite of her disease, that sweet soul died of a broken heart.
    Miss you and love you always my Debra,

  124. TG

    It’s amazing. I thought I was the only one who felt so fondly about Debralee. She lost her fiance, a firefighter, on 9/11 in New York and, according to many of those close to her, drank away her sadness and died because of it.

  125. chris

    A new employee of mine started today and looked like Debralee. I went to show her a picture and just found out she died.
    She dated Neal Schon (Journey) for a second back in the day.
    Don’t you just hate when people die way too young?

  126. Lisa

    I am 41 years old and never saw Debralee Scott in anything. I never even knew who she was before I found this site. My point is, nobody who dies at the age of 52 should be coined as dying of a “natural cause.” This must have been one heck of a lady. I read all of these posts and she has alot of fans. Rest in peace Debralee Scott, whoever you were.

  127. Thomas

    I am very much saddened learning of Debralees passing. She will always be remembered as one of the brightest stars of television. Her bouncy humor and big smile will last forever.

  128. Deborah Rodriguez

    I was watching American Graffiti the other day and wondered what ever happened to Debralee, I decided to google her name and found the sad news of her passing. I remember Debralee just like yesterday, she use to babysit my sister and I as she lived near us in Elizabeth, NJ. I remember when she worked at the movie theatre and used to get us in free and the day she came to see us to tell us she was moving to California and someday we would see her on TV. She will always have a place in my heart and her memories will live on. I will always remember you Debralee, thanks for being a part of my life!

  129. deborahj

    Debralee popped into my head for no reason yesterday…”I wonder whatever happened to…?” I am Deborah with middle name Lee so always identified with her. Thanks to the enduring nature of the internet I just learned of her death. If the cirrohsis story is true, it isn’t the first time I heard of a 9-11 loved one developing a drinking problem in response to the trauma. I know someone who lost her partner in 9-11 who had to deal with that as well (she’s now in AA). Sad.

  130. Joan Seskin

    I also, recently googled DebraLee Scott after seeing her on a MatchGame rerun. I remember her, (don’t remember the year), when she did a small role in a movie called The Reincarnation of Peter Proud in my home town, Springfield, Massachusetts. There is a neighborhood in Spfld of OLD OLD (gorgeous, but run down) homes. One of them was used as the former home of Peter Proud (played by Michael Sarrasin)who discovers while living in Calif. that he may have lived previously. After researching, he gets to go back to Splfd., Ma to visit the house where he bumps into DebraLee’s character who lives next door and shows him a way to break into the house. It was a bit part, but how exciting to have the Cast of Celebrities in our town. My sister-in-law was used in the film (as an extra) as well. RIP DebraLee !!

  131. Stephen

    I started watching “Match Game” recently and quickly noticed how much Debralee stuck out as a vibrant, younger personality on the show. Excited about seeing her in other, more current roles, I looked her up only to find that she has passed. I am deeply saddened by this, as her passing was much too soon.
    Debralee, you are sorely missed.

  132. artie

    for years i couldnt recall her name , i remember her on the match game years ago , she was an absolurte doll face , im so upset because i just found out that she died , she was my age too , i love u debralee

  133. Kathryn

    I never missed one episode of Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. Debra added so much to the show, with her quirkiness and comedic flair. I was shocked to know she had passed. She will be missed….

  134. Carol McGovney

    Lovely Debralee…sitting here thinking of all the wonderful,fun,sad, exciting days we had together…I thought of you the other day on your birthday…and you haven’t left my thoughts…
    Your talent, your wonderful cooking.I wonder if your sister Jerilynn has your cookbook….the brat you could turn into if you didn’t get your way….our trip to see your favorite ‘Francis Albert’ and getting to sit at the family table to see him in concert…..too many events to put down….I hope you and JD are together in heaven…..
    I love you my Sister by choice……

  135. preston

    I was just sitting here watching Debralee on Match Game and old enough to remember those days thinking how beautiful she was at that time. Like many post here I did have a huge crush on her. She was absolutely beautiful and I hope her life was great before 9/11. Suffering great loss I think she died of sorry. GOD’S SPEED DEBRALEE AND HOPE YOUR WITH YOUR LOVED ONES AND HAPPY NOW!!

  136. Gary

    I, like so many others had Debralee just pop into my head. I was so saddened to read of her tragic loss on 9/11 and her own death in 05. From her role on MHx2 to her portrayal of Hotsie Totsie I simply fell in love with her persona. And she was hot!!

  137. pat cuomo

    I remember Debralee in so many shows in so many ways. I was disappointed when the local Channel 4 news team only briefly cited her fiances and her death.I enjoyed her on her sit-coms and like today on game shows……my prayers are with you and your family

  138. Eric

    I ran into her a few years back at a restaurant in Valley Village, Ca. We were both waiting at the counter for some takeout food. She recomended some food from the menu to me. I remember her as being a very friendly and outgoing person.
    I was surprised to hear of her passing. She was very full of life.
    She will be missed.

  139. jim

    More than four years after her passing and people, such as myself, are still learning of it. I had a big crush on her; still do. She was always such a delight: Cute, sweet, smart, funny – she had it all.

  140. Charlie

    I am 62 and remember seeing Debralee in many TV shows and movies throughout the 70s and 80s. I always thought she was a good actress. Recently I found GSN and have been watching reruns on that network for about a year. Matchgame is my favorite and exactly as another blogger posted I just this morning watched an episode with Debralee on it. I, too, Googled her and was saddened to hear she had passed away and at so young an age. Thank you, Debralee, for all your talent as a commedian and for all the laughs…RIP XXOOXX

  141. Rob F

    I was very sad to learn of the passing of a great lady. Debralee you truly will be missed and you where taken from us long before it was time. may rest in peace love Rob.

  142. Marisa

    I just found out that she passed away. I watched her on “Mary Hartman.” Then, she came to our house for the Christmas holidays one year. She was dating my uncle, Peter Lucia of Tommy James and the Shondells. My uncle passed in 1987, and my brother just told me of Debra Lee’s passing. I have taken out the pictures I have of her and going to put them in a frame. She was a nice girl, but when the camera came out, she really posed.

  143. David

    I was just reading a story about Leif Garrett, and her name came up. As others do, I remembered her fondly from Kotter & Match Game. She had that certain “something” that caught your eye, and brightened your day.
    I’m sorry to read that her final years were so traumatic and depressing. She deserved more, after all the happiness she brought to others through her work. Life is not fair sometimes.

  144. Dorothy

    I’m also a fan of Debralee’s from way back. She did not play Brooke English on All My Children. That actress is Julia Barr, who returned to the show earlier this year. RIP Debralee. You were a charming and memorable performer.

  145. lydia

    I recently saw an old episode of Mary Hartman and the fond memories of Debra ignited an urge to google her. It has been several years and I did not know she had died. I am saddened that the news media ignored the death of a woman who held the hearts of so many. Debra was so much a part of my youth (Kotter & Mary Hartman)!
    Thank you Debra for so many great memories.

  146. Eileen

    Wow…I’m shocked and saddened to find out today that Debralee died in April of ’05. I just finished watching an episode of The Love Boat online in which she was a guest star. She’s lovely to look at and so down to earth and wholesome and so funny too…like the girl next door type. No doubt she died of a broken heart. Sept.11, 2001 was a tragedy for the whole country but especially to someone like Debralee who lost someone close to her heart. You’re in a better place now…no one can hurt you there…RIP

  147. Keith

    Another guy who had a crush on Debralee Scott. MIne started with Mary Hartman. I always watched for her and did not realize that she was gone. I thought of her just recently and decided to look up what she was dong. It is so sad that she is gone.

  148. Robert

    Here it is 2010 and all of a sudden her name pops into my head. I was wondering where she was and what she was doing these days. I was very saddened to find out about her death. What a blow. I was in the dark all these years and did not know she had passed away. RIP. Your fans still remember you.

  149. David

    It’s been noted that after her fiance’s death, Debralee did drink, but it does not seem that alcohol was directly related to her death. Doctors weren’t able to find out why she slipped into a coma for several days, came out of it, went home, took a nap and never woke up. An autopsy was inconclusive. Too young, so sad.

  150. Kevin

    I got to know her in the late 1990’s as she was BFF with my girlfriend in Brooklyn.

    I talked to her many times after 9/11 and while her drinking did increase the booze did not kill her – she died of a broken heart.

    She met John in a dive bar in the West Village and they became a couple instantly.

    She was good people.

  151. Rose

    Well I know it’s been years, but I just saw Debralee on a Match Game rerun and decided to Google her. Was shocked to find out she passed away so many years ago. What a beautiful and bright woman she was. RIP, Debralee. You certainly had a huge impact on so many people.

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