BETTYE AKERMAN, who played DR MAGGIE GRAHAM on the popular BEN CASEY medical series in the 1960s and was the widow of actor Sam Jaffe, has died. She was 82. Ackerman died 1 November (06) at her home in Columbia, South Carolina after having a stroke on 28 October (06), according to her brother, ROBERT ACKERMAN. She was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease a few years after selling her home in Beverly Hills in 1998 and moving to Columbia to be near family members. She played an anaesthesiologist on the hit TV series Ben Casey that debuted in 1961 with Vince Edwards in the title role of the idealistic young surgeon and Jaffe as his fatherly mentor, DR DAVID ZORBA. Ackerman met Jaffe when they appeared together in a New York City stage production of MOLIERE's TARTUFFE in 1955. Jaffe, who had played the title role in Gunga Din and the HIGH LAMA in Lost Horizon, was more than 30 years Ackerman's senior. They were married in 1956. The actress, who made her film debut in the 1959 drama FACE OF FIRE with Cameron Mitchell and James Whitmore, made numerous guest appearances on TV series, including PERRY MASON, POLICE STORY, THE WALTONS, and ST ELSEWHERE. She was also the original CONSTANCE MACKENZIE on the daytime drama RETURN TO PEYTON PLACE, which ran from 1972 to 1974. In the 1960s, she launched a side career as an artist and exhibited her work in the Los Angeles area, New York, Georgia and South Carolina.