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Billie Hayes (1924–2021), played Witchiepoo on “H.R. Pufnstuf”

by Linnea Crowther

Billie Hayes was an actress best known for playing Witchiepoo, the villain of the cult classic children’s show “H.R. Pufnstuf.”

Acting career

Hayes’ Witchiepoo became one of the most beloved villains of children’s TV as she rode her Vroom Broom around Living Island and tried to steal Freddy the Flute. She played Witchiepoo again in the movie “Pufnstuf.” Before her role on 1969’s “H.R. Pufnstuf,” Hayes had a successful Broadway career, including playing Mammy Yokum in the musical “Lil Abner.” She reprised the role for the 1959 movie adaptation and 1971 TV special. Hayes toured with the national company for “Hello Dolly” in 1966. She made TV appearances on shows including “General Hospital,” “The Monkees,” and “Murder, She Wrote.” Hayes also did voice work for animated movies and TV shows including “The Black Cauldron,” “Rugrats,” “The New Scooby-Doo Mysteries,” and “The Powerpuff Girls.”

Notable quote

“Oh, I love that fan mail! I’m the Ann Landers of the witch world — I am! The kids write me and I don’t know why they pick the witch to write to unless they figure, you know, ‘Either she’s so dumb she’ll give ya a funny answer,’ or ‘She’s so smart I’ll get out of trouble,’ right?… What a feeling of power!” —from a 1969 interview with Bobbie Wygant


Tributes to Billie Hayes

Full obituary: People

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