Goodman in 1958
October 28, 1914
Columbus, Ohio, United States
|Died||June 22, 2008 (aged 93)|
Englewood, New Jersey, United States
|Resting place||Brookside Cemetery|
Dody Goodman (October 28, 1914 – June 22, 2008) was an American character actress. She played the mother of the title character in the television series Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, her distinctive high-pitched voice announcing the show's title at the beginning of each episode. She was a regular on The Tonight Show in the 1950s, and cast member of The Mary Tyler Moore Hour in 1979. Aside from film and television appearances, she also voice acted Miss Miller in the television series Alvin and the Chipmunks and the film spin-off The Chipmunk Adventure.
Born Dolores Goodman in Columbus, Ohio, she was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dexter Y. Goodman. She had one sister, Rose, and one brother, Dexter Jr. She attended North High School (Columbus, Ohio) now Columbus International High School and is a member of the Hall of Fame at North High School. She attended Northwestern University, where she studied dramatics, and two ballet schools—the School of American Ballet and the Metropolitan Opera Ballet School.
Goodman's Broadway debut came in 1941. She gained a measure of newspaper column space for her dancing solos in such Broadway musicals as High Button Shoes (1947), and Wonderful Town (1953). In 1955, she stopped the show in Off Broadway's Shoestring Revue with the novelty song "Someone's Been Sending Me Flowers." She also headlined Off-Broadway in the Jerry Herman musical revue Parade in 1960 with Charles Nelson Reilly. She played the role of Dora in the 1962 revival of Fiorello!. She returned to Broadway in 1974 to appear in Lorelei with Carol Channing.
Adopting the guise of a fey airhead, Goodman was good for a few off-the-wall quotes whenever she submitted to an interview. She came to the attention of nighttime talkshow host Jack Paar who, after becoming enchanted with her ditzy persona and seemingly spontaneous malaprops, invited her to become a semi-regular on The Tonight Show.
As Goodman's fame grew, she became difficult to handle on the show, and Paar was not happy with her upstaging habits. Commenting on another guest one evening, Paar quipped "Give them enough rope." "And they'll skip!" ad-libbed Goodman brightly. Dropped summarily by Paar in 1958, Goodman spent the next decade showing up on other talk programs, game shows and summer stock as a "professional celebrity".
Following Mary Hartman, Goodman was a regular cast member on The Mary Tyler Moore Hour on CBS in 1979. Her career gained momentum with regular appearances on TV's Diff'rent Strokes, Search for Tomorrow, Punky Brewster, and as aunt Mavis in 1982 on Texas, movie roles in Grease, Grease 2 and Splash, and cartoon voiceover work as Miss Miller, The Chipettes' guardian, on Alvin and the Chipmunks and its movie The Chipmunk Adventure.
Her distinctive voice was once described as sounding like "a tweetie pie cartoon bird strangling on peanut butter".
Goodman posed for photographs by Cris Alexander in the Patrick Dennis mock-biography First Lady, as Martha Dinwiddie's sister Clytie, who in the story married a European Count Przyzplätcki (pron. "splatsky") and perished on the RMS Titanic. She also helped produce another book with Alexander's photography entitled Women, Women, Women!
In 1958, Goodman was nominated for an Emmy Award for Best Continuing Performance (Female) in a Series by a Comedienne, Singer, Hostess, Dancer, M.C., Announcer, Narrator, Panelist, or any Person who Essentially Plays Herself. Her work in a revival of Ah, Wilderness! in 1984 earned her a nomination for a Drama Desk Award.
- McManus, Margaret (September 22, 1957). "'Tonight,' Dody Goodman May Be Hit of TV Season". The San Bernardion County Sun. p. 14. Retrieved August 24, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Hodges, Ed., Ben (2009). Theatre World 2008-2009: The Most Complete Record of the American Theatre. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 416. ISBN 9781423473695. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- "Dody Goodman - 'dumb as a mink-dyed fox'". Independent Press Telegram. August 15, 1976. p. 44. Retrieved August 24, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Dody Goodman". Emmys. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- Simonson, Robert. "Dody Goodman, Comedienne and Actress, Dead at 92". Playbill. Retrieved 25 August 2015.
- Michael Kuchwara (2008-06-23). "Dody Goodman, stage and tv comedian, dies at 93". Associated Press. Archived from the original on June 26, 2008.