Jo Anne Worley
|Jo Anne Worley|
Worley in May 2010
September 6, 1937 |
Lowell, Indiana, U.S.
|Occupation||Actress, comedienne, singer|
|Spouse(s)||Roger Perry (May 11, 1975-2000, Divorced)|
Jo Anne Worley (born September 6, 1937) is an American actress. Her work covers television, films, theater, game shows, talk shows, commercials, and cartoons. She is best known for her work on the comedy-variety show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.
Worley was born in Lowell, Indiana, the third of five children. In 1962, her father remarried and his second union gave her two half-brothers and two half-sisters.
Always known for her loud voice, Worley once said that when she attended church as a little girl, she never sang the hymns but would only lip-synch them for fear that she would drown out everyone else. Before graduating from high school, she was named School Comedienne.
After graduating from high school in 1955, Worley moved to Blauvelt, New York, where she began her professional career as a member of the Pickwick Players. This led to a drama scholarship to Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.
After studying at Midwestern for two years, she moved to Los Angeles to study at Los Angeles City College and the Pasadena Playhouse. She was soon given her first musical role in a production of Wonderful Town. In 1961, she received her first major break when she appeared in the musical revue Billy Barnes People in Los Angeles; this production moved to Broadway, where it ran for only six performances. However, the New York Times reviewer wrote: "Jo Anne Worley has an earthy style that suggests she could be a rowdy commedienne." In 1964, Worley was selected to appear as a stand-in on the original Broadway production of Hello, Dolly! One year later, she created her own nightclub act in Greenwich Village, where she was discovered by Merv Griffin in 1966.
Impressed by Worley's talents, Griffin engaged her to be one of his primary guest stars on his show, where she made approximately 40 appearances on The Merv Griffin Show. In 1966 she appeared Off-Broadway in The Mad Show, a musical revue based on Mad Magazine. In 1967, her stint on Griffin's show led to her discovery by George Schlatter, who soon cast her in Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.
In 1970, she left Laugh-In to pursue other projects and has made guest appearances on several TV shows, including Hot Dog, Love, American Style, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Andy Williams Show, and different game shows such as Hollywood Squares and the many versions of Pyramid. She continued working in various movies, TV shows, and theatrical performances (original productions and revivals alike) over the years; and she also became known for her work as a voice provider for several cartoons, animated movies, and video games. Her voice work includes Nutcracker Fantasy (1979), the Disney movies Beauty and the Beast (1991), A Goofy Movie (1995), Belle's Magical World (1998), and the voice of the Wardrobe in the video game Kingdom Hearts II (2005). She remains involved with Disney, making cameos in several Disney Channel sitcoms such as Kim Possible playing the role of Bonnie Rockwaller's mother, Wizards of Waverly Place, and Jessie.
She performed in regional theater, such as the Melody Top Theater in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she appeared in Gypsy: A Musical Fable as Rose (1984), Annie Get Your Gun (1982), Hello Dolly! (1980), Anything Goes (1978), and Once Upon A Mattress (1974), She also appeared at the Welk Dinner Theater in San Diego, California in Same Time, Next Year in 1985., Call Me Madam at the California Music Theatre, Pasadena, California, in 1987, and Nunsense at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, La Mirada, California, in 1991.
In 1989, she returned to Broadway to appear in Prince of Central Park, but the show was canceled after one performance. Worley was cast as The Wicked Witch of the West in a 1999 musical production of The Wizard of Oz, directed and adapted by Robert Johanson, with Mickey Rooney playing the eponymous role. The production had a limited run at the Pantages Theater, Hollywood, California and at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, and she also joined the limited US tour. Worley played Mrs. Tottendale in the Broadway musical, The Drowsy Chaperone at the Marquis Theatre from July through December 2007.
Jo Anne Worley continues to perform today in several acting circuits in New York and Los Angeles, and she has also been active at times in the lecture circuit. She is currently President of and also serves on the Board of Directors for Actors and Others for Animals.
Personal life 
Television work 
- Adventures in Paradise Act of Piracy (1961)
- The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis (1960–1961)
- Captain Nice One Rotten Apple (1967)
- Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In (cast member from 1968–1970)
- Hot Dog (cast member 1970)
- The Feminist and the Fuzz (1971)
- Night Gallery House-With Ghost (1971)
- What's a Nice Girl Like You...? (1971)
- Adam-12 Mary Hong Loves Tommy Chen (1972)
- The Paul Lynde Show An Affair to Forget (1972)
- It Pays to Be Ignorant (1973–1974)
- The $10,000 Pyramid (and other subsequent incarnations of Pyramid; a recurring celebrity guest, 1973–1991)
- Match Game (Panelist)
- Six Million Dollar Man (1974)
- The Riddlers (1977) (unsold game show pilot)
- Hawaii Five-O (1977) episode "Blood Money Is Hard to Wash" (Anna Jovanko)
- The Gift of the Magi (1978)
- The All-New Popeye Hour (1978) (voice) Sgt. Bertha Blast
- Don't Miss the Boat (1980)
- Through the Magic Pyramid (1981) Mutnedjmet
- Murder, She Wrote (1985) episode "My Johnny Lies over the Ocean" Carla Raymond
- The Wuzzles (1985) (voice) Hopopotamus
- The Elf Who Saved Christmas (1992) (voice) Mrs. Buzzard
- The Elf and the Magic Key (1993) (voice) Mrs. Buzzard
- Family Reunion: A Relative Nightmare (1995)
- Mad About You (1996) episode "Dream Weaver" (Herself)
- Caroline in the City (1998) episode "Caroline and the Sandwich" (Herself)
- Boy Meets World (1999) episode "Pickett Fences" (Mrs. Stevens)
- Kim Possible (2001) (voice) Mrs. Rockwaller
- Sabrina, The Teenage Witch (1998) episode "Good Will Haunting" (Aunt Beulah)
- Wizards of Waverly Place (2009) episode "Alex Does Good"
- Bones (2011) episode "The Truth in the Myth" (Diane Michaels)
- Curb Your Enthusiasm (2011) episode "The Smiley Face" (Rosemary)
- Jessie (2011) episode "Zuri's New Old Friend" (Mrs. Arthur/Nana Banana) on Disney
- The Middle (2012) episode "The Guidance Counselor" (Miss Lambert)
- Moon Pilot (1962)
- The Shaggy D.A. (1976)
- Nutcracker Fantasy (1979) (voice)
- Beauty and the Beast (1991) (voice)
- A Goofy Movie (1995) (voice)
- Belle's Magical World (1998) (direct-to-video) (voice)
- Goodnight, We Love You (2004) (documentary)
- Forever Plaid: The Movie (2008) (scenes deleted)
- Erickson, p. 76
- "The Billy Barnes People", 1961, listing ibdb.com, accessed July 21, 2009
- Taubman, Howard. "Theatre: Coast Review", The New York Times, June 14, 1961, p. 10
- "The Mad Show, 1966, listing" lortel.org, accessed July 21, 2009
- Joslyn, Jay. "JoAnne Worley Gets Top Rolling", The Milwaukee Sentinel, June 1, 1984
- Braunagel, Don. "Theaters build on big year," The San Diego Union-Tribune, January 10, 1986, p.C-1
- "Names in the News", The Associated Press, May 9, 1987
- "Jo Anne Worley stars in Nunsense at the La Mirada Theatre," Business Wire, April 24, 1991
- Rich, Frank."Review/Theater; The City Is Sweet and Muggers Are Merry,"The New York Times, November 10, 1989
- Van Gelder, Lawrence."Theater Review; Not in Kansas Anymore,"The New York Times, May 8, 1999
- Jones, Kenneth and Ehren, Christine."'Laugh In' Worley Replaces Montevecchi April 14 in MSG Wizard of Oz Tour," playbill.com, April 13, 1999
- Gans, Andrew."Worley to Join L.A. Wicked Cast; Levy to Succeed Espinosa" at www.playbill.com, December 18, 2009
- Gans, Andrew."Diva Talk:Chatting with Drowsy Chaperone's Jo Anne Worley Plus the Patti LuPone Gypsy," playbill.com, July 20, 2007
- "Jo Anne Worley Biography," filmreference.com, accessed July 21, 2009
- Erickson, Hal. "From beautiful downtown Burbank" (2000), McFarland, ISBN 0-7864-0766-2
- Unofficial webpage
- Jo Anne Worley at the Internet Movie Database
- Jo Anne Worley at the Internet Broadway Database