Twila was born March 14, 1926 in Kansas City, MO, daughter of Eloise and Russell Comer. She grew up with her parents and younger brother Warren in the Brookside area of Kansas City and graduated from The Barstow School. After two years at Ward Belmont in Nashville, Twila moved to New York to attend Sarah Lawrence College, where she graduated with a major in creative and performing arts. After graduation, she remained in New York to pursue a career in theater. A triple-threat talent, Twila acted, sang, and danced her way to roles in a number of Broadway productions, but spoke most proudly of being Mary Martin’s understudy for the Broadway hit Annie Get Your Gun. Twila might have remained in New York had it not been for a rehearsal incident in which she reprimanded a stagehand for projecting some unflattering lighting. The mishap was no accident, but a ploy designed to meet the young actress. And it worked. The stagehand’s name was Alec Pollard, the gentleman she would later marry.
In 1954, Twila returned to Kansas City, where her husband Alec began a successful career in advertising, and where she would continue to pursue the profession she loved for the next 7 decades. Her first role was Jimmie Allen’s girlfriend “Barbara”in the nationally broadcast radio series The Air Adventures of Jimmie Allen, produced by Twila’s father Russell. She went on to work steadily as an actress in radio, television, community theater, and industrial/educational films, and landed some roles in feature films shot on location in the Kansas City area. For several years in the late 1960s, Twila was regularly heard across the country as the voice of Andy Granatelli’s wife on radio advertisements for STP. She co-starred with Richard Kiley in the1975 ABC television movie of the week, Friendly Persuasion and had a small role in the movie Mr. & Mrs. Bridge starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Kids loved her as the Wishing Well Lady on Saturday morning TV. On the side, Twila ran an exercise studio called Skinny School, well before fitness was fashionable. Even as an octogenarian, Twila did not slow down. Her voice was ubiquitous in Kansas City radio as the little old lady in Grandma’s Catering ads and nursing home residents were regularly entertained by her performances with the Leawood Singers
Twila’s most successful roles, though, were those of daughter, wife, and mother. She loved her parents and was always there for her mother Eloise, who lived to be 100. Twila was devoted to her husband Alec, with whom she shared many years of happiness and for whom she cared during his final years as he battled illness until he died in 2003. Twila was a proud mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother who artfully applied her professional acumen to maternal advantage. Her dramatic flair and magnetic personality were universally popular with all her children’s friends. She was armed with multi-octave vocal talent, which she strategically employed at will to awaken her oversleeping children for school. The ability to create characters and just be silly made visits to Grand T’s a special event for grandkids and great-grandkids. But Twila’s best assets did not involve acting. She was kind, fair, always encouraging, with an unbending positive spin on life, a woman who, yes, admittedly,once burned the grapefruit, but never, ever missed on the fried chicken. We love you mom.
Twila is survived by son, Alec Pollard, Jr. and wife Heidi, and daughters, Lynn Renaud and husband Louis, and Pamela Pollard and husband Joe Waskevich, grandsons Charles and John Renaud and Matthew Obermeier and wife Christina, great-grandchildren Ethan, Mila, and Isaac Obermeier, a multitude of dear friends and extended family, and countless people who, regrettably, will never experience the pleasure of having known this unique woman.
Special thanks to friends who assisted Twila throughout the years, particularly Margit Noe and Missy Honeycutt, and Kindred Hospice nurse, Katy Avila for allowing us to see Mom virtually in her final days.
Services: The family hopes to host a wake at some point in the future, when we may gather safely to celebrate Twila’s life. In lieu of flowers, donations in Twila’s honor may be made to Donate Life America, 701 East Byrd Street, 16th Floor, Richmond, VA 23219.