Parks And Recreation Actress Helen Slayton-Hughes Is Dead At 92

Helen Slayton-Hughes as Ethel Beavers on Parks and Recreation
(Image credit: NBC)

Parks and Recreation actress Helen Slayton-Hughes, known for playing Ethel Beavers on the NBC sitcom, has died at the age of 92. 

The actress's family posted the announcement on her Facebook page, writing: 

To the friends and fans of our beloved Helen, Helen passed away last night. Her pain has ended but her fierce spirit lives on. Thank you for the love and support of her and her work.

At this time the cause of her death is unknown. 

The family also shared a video of the actress that showed her in her iconic Parks and Rec role, with text over the video that said: 

To our beloved Helen…you always made us laugh. Thank you for the love and laughter. You inspired us all by living your dream until the end. Rest now, our sweet Helen. We know the laughter will continue wherever you are.

Slayton-Hughes is best known for her work as one of the best random Pawnee side characters on the hit NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation. She played a grumpy court stenographer Ethel Beavers who popped in to reluctantly help the Parks Department from time to time. 

We met Ethel for the first time when she showed Andy and Tom around the fourth floor. Then she showed up every so often to file a form, attend Leslie’s Galentine’s Day brunch, or, and this is my favorite, give a speech at Mayor Gunderson's (played by Bill Murray) funeral, and drop a bombshell that she had been in a 43 year long affair with him. 

Her character was part of some excellent Parks and Rec inside jokes, like how the fourth floor has everything. She was also part of massive moments on the show, like being the one to announce to Ben that Leslie loved him, and she signed off on their marriage license a few seasons later. It’s safe to say, that even though Slayton-Hughes only appeared in a few episodes of the show, she was a beloved member of the Parks and Rec cast

Ethel Beavers became such an icon of Parks and Rec she even got her own Best of…video from NBC.

Along with her iconic role in Parks and Rec, the actress had a long career that began in 1980 when she appeared in the film Mafia on the Bounty. She spent some time away from the screen until 2000 when she appeared in Nash Bridges, and then she went on to appear in iconic TV shows like The West Wing, Malcolm in the Middle, Desperate Housewives, Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl. Her final appearance came by way of Marlon Wayans's film The Curse of Bridge Hollow, which appeared on the 2022 film schedule, and can be streamed with a Netflix subscription

If you are interested in watching Slayton-Hughes' amazingly sassy, dry and quippy performance as Ethel Beavers in Parks and Rec you can do so with a Peacock subscription

We here at CinemaBlend send our thoughts and condolences to Slayton-Hughes’ family and friends during this difficult time. 

Riley Utley
Weekend Editor

Riley Utley is the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. She has written for national publications as well as daily and alt-weekly newspapers in Spokane, Washington, Syracuse, New York and Charleston, South Carolina. She graduated with her master’s degree in arts journalism and communications from the Newhouse School at Syracuse University. Since joining the CB team she has covered numerous TV shows and movies -- including her personal favorite shows Ted Lasso and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. She also has followed and consistently written about everything from Taylor Swift to Fire Country, and she's enjoyed every second of it.