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Lorene Yarnell of Shields and Yarnell mime team dies

Lorene Yarnell, a dancer who became half of the Shields and Yarnell comedy mime team that came to fame in the 1970s and briefly starred in their own TV variety series, has died. She was 66.

Yarnell died July 29 of a brain aneurysm while watching television with her husband, Bjorn Jansson, at their home in Sandefjord, Norway, said Robert Shields, her former husband and show business partner.

"I'm devastated by her death," Shields told the Los Angeles Times Thursday. "Lorene was an incredibly gifted and magical person." The Los Angeles-born Shields, who received a scholarship to legendary mime Marcel Marceau's school in Paris in 1970, went on to become a street mime in San Francisco's Union Square, where he was known as one of the city's top tourist attractions.

Yarnell, who was born in Inglewood, Calif., near Los Angeles, was a dancer on "The Carol Burnett Show," "The Dean Martin Show" and other top TV variety programs.

She and Shields met when they worked on "Fol-de-Rol," a 1972 Sid and Marty Krofft TV special that marked Shields' first TV appearance.

"After I met her, I went back to San Francisco, and I took her with me," Shields recalled. "It was one of those crazy things; we fell in love, and she left her (dancing) career behind." "It was destiny," Yarnell, who taught Shields to dance while he taught her mime, told The Arizona Republic in 2004.

In October 1972, the two white-faced mimes donned matching band leader costumes and were married in a pantomimed ceremony in Union Square.

After working together and separately as mimes in San Francisco they moved to Los Angeles in 1975 and their career took off when they became regulars on "The Mac Davis Show." A stint as regulars on CBS' "The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour" led the network to give them their own show in 1977.

Although they were divorced in mid '80s, they worked together on and off until 2009.

Yarnell, who turned up in Mel Brooks' 1987 comedy "Spaceballs" - she was the robot Dot Matrix, whose voice was supplied by Joan Rivers - owned a dance studio in Norway, where she taught jazz, tap and ballet.

In addition to Jansson, her fourth husband, she is survived by her brother, Richard.

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