Edna Basket Brown

The evil Edna Basket Brown

Edna Basket Brown (Ida Lupino; 1918-1995) was a villainess from "Swan Song," the penultimate episode of Columbos third season (airdate March 3, 1974). She was the wife of gospel singer Tommy Brown, and one of the backup singers in his group, the Lost Soul Crusaders.

The Browns' backstory revealed that Tommy was serving time in an Arkansas prison, and it was Edna who helped get him out; an act that she has used to keep him under her watchful eye and proverbial thumb. Edna has plans to build a $5 million tabernacle as a show of her spirituality, which is quickly revealed to be a cover for her true demeanor as a callous and evil blackmailer.

Edna was shown glaring at Tommy, as he was seen casually flirting with a young female fan after his performance. She had $1 million in escrow for the tabernacle, and after this was revealed, Tommy requested half of the money for his enjoyment, stating that he didn't have any of the frills that other singers had. Edna (with fellow backup singer Maryann at her side) turned down his demand, while unabashedly responding in agreement to Tommy's statements that she was using his talent for her own gain.

When Tommy threatened to quit, the evil Edna blackmailed him into staying by threatening to reveal a damning secret of his. She revealed that three years prior, Tommy engaged in an affair with Maryann when she was 16, and despite Maryann being a consenting lover, it was still statutory rape. Since finding out about Tommy and Maryann's trysts, Edna kept Maryann with her and used her to keep her stranglehold on Tommy, and she directly threatened to blow the whistle and send Tommy back to jail unless he continued participating in her quest for the tabernacle. Later in the episode, Tommy was flying himself, Edna, and Maryann to LA, where he put his plan in action to kill his wife and his illicit lover. Tommy drugged the women with spiked coffee, and as soon as they were knocked out, he jumped out of the plane while wearing his makeshift parachute, while the plane crashed and killed Edna and Maryann.


  • Ida Lupino appeared as Dr. Cassandra in the 1968 episode "The Entrancing Dr. Cassandra in the TV series "Batman".
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