Ghostley as Cousin Alice in Mayberry R.F.D., 1970.
|Born||Alice Margaret Ghostley
August 14, 1924
Eve, Missouri, U.S.
|Died||September 21, 2007
Studio City, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Felice Orlandi (1953–2003) (his death)|
Alice Margaret Ghostley (August 14, 1924 – September 21, 2007) was an American actress. She was best known for her roles as nanny/aide de camp Esmeralda (1969–72) on Bewitched, as Cousin Alice (1970–71) on Mayberry R.F.D., and as Bernice Clifton (1986–93) on Designing Women, for which she received an Emmy Nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series in 1992. Ghostley was also a regular on the James Garner-Margot Kidder NBC western Nichols (1971–72) and the critically acclaimed variety series The Julie Andrews Hour (1972–73).
Ghostley was born in Eve, Vernon County, Missouri, the daughter of Edna Muriel (Rooney) and Harry Francis Ghostley, who worked as a telegraph operator. She grew up in Henryetta, Oklahoma. After graduating from high school, she attended the University of Oklahoma but dropped out to pursue a career in theatre.
Ghostley first came to Broadway in Leonard Sillman's New Faces of 1952 and in the film version released in 1954. She appeared in the 1960 revue A Thurber Carnival and in The Beauty Part (1962), playing several distinct roles in each. She also performed in several musical comedies, including Shangri-La (1956).
A veteran of early television, Ghostley appeared as Joy, one of the ugly stepsisters in the 1957 musical television production of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's Cinderella, which starred Julie Andrews in the title role. The other stepsister was played by actress Kaye Ballard. Twelve years later, Ghostley guest starred as a harried maternity nurse on Miss Ballard's comedy series, The Mothers-in-Law.
Ghostley guest starred on the NBC police comedy, Car 54, Where Are You?, with Joe E. Ross and Fred Gwynne. She portrayed recurring characters on several situation comedies, beginning with Bewitched in 1966. In the episode, "Maid To Order", Ghostley played an inept maid named Naomi, who was hired by Darrin Stephens (played by Dick York) to assist his wife Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) during her pregnancy. Towards the end of the 1965-1966 season, actress-comedienne Alice Pearce, who was featured as the nosy neighbor Gladys Kravitz on Bewitched, passed away. The producers of the series immediately offered the role of Gladys to Ghostley, who promptly refused it. As a result, in the fall of 1966, character actress Sandra Gould assumed the role of Gladys Kravitz. However, three years later, in September, 1969, after the death of actress Marion Lorne, who played Samantha's befuddled but lovable Aunt Clara, Ghostley joined Bewitched as a semi-regular in the role of Esmeralda, a shy witch who served as a maid and babysitter to the Stephens' household. Ghostley's character of Esmeralda was created to replace Aunt Clara's role as a bumbler of magic. (Coincidentally, Ghostley and Lorne shared a brief scene together in the 1967 film The Graduate, a few months prior to Lorne's death and before Ghostley was cast in Bewitched.)
Ghostley's "Esmeralda" appeared in 15 episodes between 1969 and 1972.
During her two years on Bewitched as a semi-regular, Ghostley also joined the cast of Mayberry R.F.D., playing Cousin Alice after Frances Bavier's character, Aunt Bee, was written off the series. She appeared in 14 episodes.
In the spring of 1972, Bewitched was canceled by ABC after eight years. In September of that year, Ghostley was hired as a semi-regular for the ABC-TV variety series, The Julie Andrews Hour. In addition to participating in songs and sketches, Andrews and Ghostley were featured in a recurring segment as roommates sharing a small apartment. The Julie Andrews Hour was canceled by ABC in the spring of 1973 after twenty-four episodes.
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Ghostley appeared in episodes of situation comedies such as Hogan's Heroes (alternating with Kathleen Freeman playing Gertrude Linkmeyer, General Burkhalter's sister), Good Times, Maude, One Day at a Time, The Odd Couple and What's Happening!!.
Between 1986 and 1993, Ghostley portrayed Bernice Clifton, the slightly off-kilter friend of Julia and Suzanne Sugarbaker's mother, Perky, on Designing Women. She later played Irna Wallingsford in six episodes of Evening Shade. She also had a recurring role of Ida Mae Brindle in the sitcom Small Wonder, which ran from 1985 to 1989. Among many other guest roles, she appeared in a flashback episode as the crazed mother-in-law of Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur) on The Golden Girls. She made a one-time appearance as "Great-Grandma" in Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Ghostley also made a few guest appearances on the daytime drama Passions in 2000, playing the ghost of Matilda Matthews.
Among her roles in motion pictures, Ghostley appeared in To Kill a Mockingbird (1962), playing Stephanie Crawford, the fussy neighborhood gossip. She appeared in the 1976 film Gator as Emmeline Cavanaugh. She also appeared in the film version of Grease as shop teacher Mrs. Murdock. In 1985, she had a supporting role in the Nancy Allen comedy Not for Publication. Alice played Grandmama in the direct-to-video movie Addams Family Reunion.
Ghostley received a Tony nomination in the late 1960s for different roles she played in the Broadway comedy The Beauty Part. She also received a Tony award for Best Featured Actress for her role in The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window.
In 1992, Ghostley earned an Emmy nomination for her role in Designing Women.
Ghostley was married to Felice Orlandi, an Italian-American actor, from 1953 until his death in 2003.
On Thursday, August 20, 2009, Alice's ashes were taken to Oak Hill Cemetery in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, to be buried with her sister, Gladys, who died on June 21, 2009. The Ghostley sisters were buried next to their parents.
- Cinderella as Stepsister Joy (1957)
- General Motors 50th Anniversary Show as Eddie Bracken's wife (1957)
- Twelfth Night as Maria (1957)
- Hooray for Love (1960)
- Shangri-La as Miss Brinklow (1960)
- To Kill a Mockingbird as Miss Stephanie Crawford (1962)
- My Six Loves as Selena Johnson (1963)
- One Born Every Minute as Mrs. Packard (1967)
- The Graduate as Mrs. Singleman (1967)
- With Six You Get Eggroll as Molly (1968)
- Viva Max as Hattie (1969)
- Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies as Sister Lite (1973)
- Gator as Emmeline Cavanaugh (1976)
- Blue Sunshine as O'Malley's Neighbor (1978)
- Rabbit Test as Nurse Tumm (1978)
- Grease (1978)
- The Wrong Guys in an Uncredited Role (1988)
- Perry Mason: The Case of the Silenced Singer as Sarah McDevitt (1990)
- The Odd Couple II as Esther, the Whiner (1998)
- Addams Family Reunion as Grandmama Addams (1998)
- Hard Time as Apartment Manager (uncredited; 1998)
- Palmer's Pick Up as Eleanor Palmer (1999)
- Whispers: An Elephant's Tale as Tuskless (voice; 2000)
- Mothers and Daughters as The Doctor (2006)
- Lights Out as Chambers' Secretary (1951; Episode - "Perchance To Dream")
- Freedom Rings (1953)
- The Best of Broadway as Clara Hyland (1955; Episode - "The Show-Off")
- Star Stage (1955; Episode - "A Letter to Mr. Priest")
- Playwrights '56 as Mrs. Hope (1956; Episode - "Flight")
- Dow Hour of Great Mysteries as Charlotte (1960; Episode - "The Dachet Diamonds")
- Play of the Week (1960; Episode - "Highlights of New Faces")
- Art Carney Special (1961; Episode - "Everybody's Doin' It!")
- The Tom Ewell Show as Polly (1961; Episode - "The Chutney Caper") and as Lavinia Barrington (1961; Episode - "I Don't See It")
- Car 54, Where Are You? as Bonita Kalsheim (1961; Episodes - "Christmas at the 53rd" and "Love Finds Muldoon")
- The United States Steel Hour as Ida Routzeng (1959; Episode - "A Taste of Champagne" and 1962; Episode - "You Can't Escape")
- Naked City as Clara, the Bookkeeper (1963; Episode - One, Two, Three, Rita Rakahowski")
- Jackie Gleeson: American Scene Magazine as Agnes (1962-1964 and Guest Vocalist in 1963; 16 Overall Appearances)
- The Trials of O'Brien as Eve Roberti (1965; Episode - "The Trouble With Archie")
- Please Don't Eat The Daisies as Miss Feather (1966; Episode - "Move Over, Mozart")
- The Farmer's Daughter as Jane Marshall (1966; Episode - "The Wife Of Your Friend May Not Be A Friend Of Your Wife)
- Captain Nice as Mrs. Nash (1967; 15 Overall Appearances)
- Insight as Mother (1968; Episode - "Watts Made Out Of Thread")
- He & She as Norma Nugent (1968; Episode - "What's In The Kitty?")
- Get Smart as Verna (1966; Episode - "The Last One In Is A Rotten Spy") and as Naomi Farkas (1968; Episode - "The Farkas Fracas")
- The Mothers-In-Law as Mrs. Irene Wiley (1969; Episode - "And Baby Makes Four")
- The Queen And I as Gertrude Hartzfelder (1969; Episode - "The Promotion")
- It Takes A Thief as Miss Prillo (1969; Episode - "The Second Time Around")
- The Ghost & Mrs. Muir as Aggie Burns (1969; Episode - "Make Me A Match") and as Cousin Harriet (1970; Episode - "Curious Cousin")
- The Odd Couple as Mimi (1970; Episode - "The Breakup")
- Hogan's Heroes as Gertrude Linkmeyer (1969; Episode - "Watch The Trains Go By") and as Mrs. Mannheim (1971; Episode - "That's No Lady, That's My Spy")
- Mayberry R.F.D. as Cousin Alice (1970-1971; 2 Overall Appearances)
- Bewitched as Naomi Hogan (1966; Episode - "Maid To Order") and as Esmeralda (1969-1972; 15 Overall Appearances)
- Nichols as Bertha (1971-1972; 2 Overall Appearances)
- Circle Of Fear as Betty Carter (1972; Episode - "Time of Terror")
- Here We Go Again as Mrs. Nicholson (1973; Episode - "After The Wedding Bells")
- Love, American Style as Mrs. Silversmith (1969), Mrs. Billingsley (1971), Mom (1971) and as Gladys (1972)
- The New Temperatures Rising Show as Mrs. Lindsey (1972; Episode - "Ellen's Flip Side") and as Edwina Moffitt (1974; 7 Overall Appearances)
- Kolchak: The Night Stalker as Doctor Agnes Temple (1974; Episode - "Bad Medicine")
- Great Performances as Mrs. Taylor (1975; Episode - "Who's Happy Now?")
- Big Eddie as Violet Klabber (1975; Episode - "Crashing Violet")
- Maude as Hazel M. Hathaway (1976; Episode - "Walter's Stigma")
- Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman as Gladys Dillworth (1976; 2 Overall Appearances)
- Monster Squad as Queen Bee (1976; Episode - "Queen Bee")
- All's Fair as Inez (1976; Episode - "Living Together")
- What's Happening!! as Mrs. Turner (1977; Episode - "The Maid Did It")
- The Nancy Walker Show as Louise (1977; Episode - "The Partners")
- Good Times as Ms. Austin (1977; Episode - "J.J. In Business), Mrs. Dobbs (1977; Episode - "The Evan's Get Involved: Part 4") and as Mrs. Dodds (1977; Episode - "Penny's Christmas")
- CHiPS as Mamie (1978; Episode - "Rustling")
- Police Woman as Manageress (1978; Episode - "Sunset")
- Carter Country (1978; Episode - "The Chief's Dressing Gown")
- Family as Mrs. Hanley (1978; Episode - "A Friend of The Family's")
- One Day At A Time as Harriet Loring (1977-1978; 2 Overall Appearances)
- Chico and the Man as Harriett (1978; Episode - "The Peeping Tom")
- Friends as Mrs. Sandler
- Gimme A Break! as Mrs. Falconberg (1982; Episode - "Love Thy Neighbor")
- Trapper John, M.D. as Marge Collins (1984; Episode - "The Fred Connection")
- Mama Malone as Nedda (1984; Episode - "Shall We Dance?")
- Tales From The Darkside as Elinor Colander (1985; Episode - "Anniversary Dinner")
- Highway To Heaven as Mrs. Schtepmutter (1985; Episode - "Cindy")
- Stir Crazy (1985; Episode - "The Love Affair")
- What's Happening Now! as Minnie (1986; Episode - "Shirley's Landlord")
- Simon & Simon as Grandma Marie Cooper (1986; Episode - "Family Forecast")
- The New Leave It To Beaver as Miss Honeywell (1986; Episode - "Miss Honeywell Comes to Town")
- Punky Brewster as Mrs. Winston (1987; Episode - "Punky's Big Story")
- The Golden Girls as Mrs. Zbornak (1988; Episode - "Mother's Day")
- Small Wonder as Ida Mae Brindle (1988; 4 Overall Appearances)
- B.L. Stryker as Mrs. Parkinson (1990; Episode - "Night Train")
- Hearts Are Wild as Margaret Sawyer (1992; Episode - "Pilot")
- Designing Women as Bernice Clifton (1986-1993; 46 Overall Appearances)
- Daddy Dearest as Aunt Adelaide (1993; Episode - "Thanks, But No Thanks")
- Evening Shade as Irna Wallingford (1992-1994; 6 Overall Appearances)
- Cobra as Lorinda McClure (1994; Episode - "Lorinda")
- Diagnosis Murder as Mrs. Groviak (1994 - "You Can Call Me Johnson")
- The Client as Aunt Mabel (1996; Episode - "Damn Yankees")
- Touched By An Angel as Mrs. DeWinter (1997; Episode - "Labor Of Love")
- Aaahh! Real Monsters as Grandma (1996), Nurse (voice; 1996), Eccentric Woman (1997), Wife (voice, 1997)
- Sabrina, the Teenage Witch as Great-Grandma (1997; Episode - "Witch Trash")
- Rugrats as Mrs. Holkin (1997; 2 Overall Appearances)
- Channel Umptee-3 as Pandora Rickets (1997; voice)
- Dharma and Greg as Mrs. Binns (1998; Episode - "Dharma and Greg's First Romantic Valentine's Day Weekend")
- Hercules as Miss Cassiopeia (1998; 4 Overall Appearances)
- Passions as Matilda Matthews (2000; 4 Overall Appearances)
- Arnold, Gary (18 October 2007). "Familiar New Faces: Spoofs Endure For Cast, Films". The Washington Times. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
- Stuart Lavietes (22 September 2007). "Alice Ghostley, Comic TV and Stage Actress, Is Dead". The New York Times (NYTimes.com). Retrieved 2012-02-15.
- Lavietes, Stuart (22 September 2007). "Alice Ghostley, Comic TV and Stage Actress, Is Dead". The New York Times. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
- "Bewitched Actress Alice Ghostley Dies". Sunday Gazette-Mail. 23 September 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
- Foster, Catherine (5 December 2004). "Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Musical Cinderella Story Returns". The Boston Globe. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
- Paul. "When Esmeralda Sneezed". Archived from the original on 10 June 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-27.
- Bornfeld, Steve. (3 July 1990). "Quality-Television Group Picks Nominees For Its Own Awards". Albany Times. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
- "Alice Ghostley (DIED) (Obituary)". The Advocate. 6 November 2007. Retrieved 27 November 2012.
- Alice Ghostley at the Internet Broadway Database
- Alice Ghostley at the Internet Movie Database
- Alice Ghostley at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Alice Ghostley, Comic TV and Stage Actress, Dead at 81
- The Final Taxi Podcast on Alice Ghostley