Goodman in 1958
October 28, 1914
Columbus, Ohio, United States
|Died||June 22, 2008
Englewood, New Jersey, United States
|Resting place||Brookside Cemetery|
Dolores "Dody" Goodman (October 28, 1914 – June 22, 2008) was an American character actress, known for her playing the mother of the title character (played by Louise Lasser) in the television series Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. Her high-pitched voice could be heard announcing the show's title at the beginning of each episode. She also played in more roles in film and television through the years as well as some voice acting in the television series Alvin and the Chipmunks, the film The Chipmunk Adventure, the direct-to-video film Alvin and the Chipmunks Meet the Wolfman, and as the voice for Mrs. Lisburn, a minor character in the 2006 video game Bully, from Rockstar Games.
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 Columbus North High School and is a member of the Hall of Fame at Columbus 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 was notoriously secretive about her age, successfully shaving off 15 years (giving a birth year of 1929) for many years before the discrepancy became publicly debunked.
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 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".
Her last television role was a cameo in the talk show satire, "Jim Davison's Broadway Party" on the local NYC Manhattan Neighborhood Network channel in 2007.
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.