Jo Anne Worley

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Jo Anne Worley
Worley in May 2010
Born (1937-09-06) September 6, 1937 (age 81)
OccupationActress, comedian, singer
Years active1955–present
Roger Perry
(m. 1975; div. 2000)

Jo Anne Worley (born September 6, 1937) is an American actress, comedian and singer. Her work covers television, films, theater, game shows, talk shows, commercials, and cartoons. She worked on the comedy-variety show Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.

Early life and education[edit]

Worley was born in Lowell, Indiana,[1] the third of five children. In 1962, her father remarried and his second union gave her two half-brothers and two half-sisters.[1]

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.[1]

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.[2] This led to a drama scholarship to Midwestern State University in Wichita Falls, Texas.[3]


Worley signing autographs at a Wicked performance

After studying at Midwestern for two years, Worley moved to Los Angeles to study at Los Angeles City College and the Pasadena Playhouse.[4][5][6][7] She was soon given her first musical role in a production of Wonderful Town. In 1961, Worley 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 comedienne."[4][5][6][8] In 1964, she was selected to appear as a stand-in on the original Broadway production of Hello, Dolly! One year later, Worley created her own nightclub act in Greenwich Village, where she was discovered by Merv Griffin in 1966.[4][5][6]

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.[4][5][6] In 1966, she appeared Off-Broadway in The Mad Show, a musical revue based on Mad Magazine.[9] In 1967, Worley's stint on Griffin's show led to her discovery by George Schlatter, who soon cast her in Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In.[4][5][6]

In 1970, Worley left Laugh-In to pursue other projects and has made guest appearances on several television series, including Love, American Style, The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, The Andy Williams Show, Adam-12, Emergency!, Murder, She Wrote, The Middle, and different game shows such as Super Password, Hollywood Squares, and the many versions of Pyramid. She continued working in various movies, television series, and theatrical performances (original productions and revivals alike) over the years. Worley 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), Beauty and the Beast: 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.

Worley 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),[10] She also appeared at the Welk Dinner Theater in San Diego, California in Same Time, Next Year in 1985.,[11] Call Me Madam at the California Music Theatre, Pasadena, California, in 1987,[12] and Nunsense at the La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts, La Mirada, California, in 1991.[13]

In 1989, Worley returned to Broadway to appear in Prince of Central Park, but the show was canceled after one performance.[14] She 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.[15][16] Worley played Mrs. Tottendale in the Broadway musical, The Drowsy Chaperone at the Marquis Theatre from July through December 2007. She then reprised the role of Mrs. Tottendale at The Cape Playhouse from June to July 2015.

From January 8 until August 24, 2008, Worley played the role of Madame Morrible in the Los Angeles production of Wicked.[17] She continues to perform today in New York City and Los Angeles, and she has also given lectures. She is currently president of Actors and Others for Animals, and serves on its board of directors.[18]

Personal life[edit]

Worley married actor Roger Perry on May 11, 1975. They divorced in 2000.[19]



Year Film Role Notes
1962 Moon Pilot Extra
1968 Head Woman in Playtex Bra Ad Adventure musical satirical film featuring The Monkees and directed by Bob Rafelson.[21]
1976 The Shaggy D.A. Katrinka Muggelberg Comedy film and a sequel to The Shaggy Dog and directed by Robert Stevenson.[22]
1979 Nutcracker Fantasy Queen Morphia くるみ割り人形 (Kurumiwari Ningyō, lit. The Nutcracker) Japanese-American stop motion animated film. directed by Takeo Nakamura.[23]
1991 Beauty and the Beast Armoire the Wardrobe Animated musical romantic fantasy film directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise.[24]
1995 A Goofy Movie Miss Maples Animated musical road comedy film directed by Kevin Lima.[25]
1998 Beauty and the Beast: Belle's Magical World Armoire the Wardrobe
  • Direct-to-video
  • Musical romantic fantasy film directed by Cullen Blaine, Daniel de la Vega, Barbara Dourmashkin, Dale Kase, Bob Kline, Burt Medall, and Mitch Rochon.
  • Credited as Joanne Worley
1999 Belle's Tales of Friendship Armoire the Wardrobe
  • Direct-to-video
  • Live action/animated directed by Jimbo Mitchell.
2004 Goodnight, We Love You Herself Documentary written and directed by Gregg Barson.
2008 Forever Plaid: The Movie The Usher
2012 Carol Channing: Larger Than Life Documentary Herself Documentary directed and co-written by Dori Berinstein.


Year Title Role Notes
1960 The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis Myrtle Tarantino Episode: "Baby Talk" (S 2:Ep 3)
1961 Adventures in Paradise Guest Episode: "Act of Piracy" {S 2:Ep 18}
The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis Myrtle Tarantino Episode: "Goodbye, Mr. Pomfritt, Hello, Mr. Chips" (S 2:Ep 34)
1967 Captain Nice Rusty Episode: "One Rotten Apple" (S 1:Ep 14)
1968–1970 Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In Performer Contract role
1970 Hot Dog Host
  • Contract role
  • Saturday morning documentary series for children
Pat Paulsen's Half a Comedy Hour Underwater Wife Episode: "Episode #1.4" (S 1:Ep 4)
Love, American Style Maggie Episode:"Love and the Coed Dorm/Love and the Optimist/Love and the Teacher" (S 1:Ep 19)
1971 The Feminist and the Fuzz Dr. Debby Inglefinger Made-for-TV-Movie directed by Jerry Paris.[26]
Love, American Style Guest Episode: "Love and the Boss/Love and the Jury/Love and the Logical Explanation/Love and the Pregnancy" (s 2:Ep 21)
Night Gallery Iris Travers Episode: " House - With Ghost/A Midnight Visit to the Neighborhood Blood Bank/Dr. Stringfellow's" (S 2:Ep 9)
What's a Nice Girl Like You...? Cynthia Made-for-TV-Movie directed by Jerry Paris.[27]
Love, American Style Housewife Episode: "Love and the Detective/Love and the Guilty Conscience/Love and the Mixed Marriage/Love and the Wake-Up Girl" (S 3:Ep 5)
Susie Episode: "Love and the Baby/Love and the Big Mother/Love and the Free Weekend/Love and the Jealous Husband/Love and the Old Cowboy" (S 3:Ep 9)
1972 Mrs. Stevens Episode: "Love and the Big Surprise/Love and the Security Building/Love and the Ski Lodge/Love and the Happy Unhappy Couple/Love and the Topless Policy" (S 3:Ep 16)
Adam-12 Juju Perrin Episode: "Mary Hong Loves Tommy Chen" (S 4:Ep 19)
The Paul Lynde Show Fay Episode: "An Affair to Forget" (S 1:Ep 12)
1973–1974 It Pays to Be Ignorant Herself Panelist
1973–1991 Pyramid Recurring celebrity guest Its subsequent versions
1973 Love, American Style Beverly Arnold Rhode Episode: "Love and the Games People Play/Love and High Spirits/Love and the Memento/Love and the Single Husband/Love and the Stutter" (S 5:Ep 4)
Emergency! Screaming Woman Episode: "Zero" (S 3:Ep 10)
1974–1976 Match Game Herself Panelist
1974 Six Million Dollar Man Mona Episode: "Survival of the Fittest" ( S1 :Ep 2)
1975 Get Christie Love! Miss Holmes Episode: "Murder on High C" (S 1:Ep 16)
New Zoo Revue Vanessa Gramcracker Episode: "September 2, 1975"
1977 The Riddlers unsold game show pilot
Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color Miss Osborne Episode: "The Mouseketeers at Walt Disney World" (S 24:Ep 6)
Hawaii Five-O Anna Jovanko Episode: "Blood Money Is Hard to Wash"
1978 The Love Boat Sandy Beal Episode: "A Time for Everything/The Song Is Ended/Accidental Cruise/Anoushka" (S 2:Ep 8)
The Gift of the Magi Star Adapted made-for-TV-Movie directed by Marc Daniels.
1979 The Love Boat Dottie Anderson Episode: "The Stimulation of Stephanie/The Next Step/Life Begins at 40" (S 3:Ep 14)
CHiPs Herself
  • Episode: "Roller Disco: Part 2" (S 3:Ep 2)
  • Uncredited
The Arthur Godfrey Special Herself Sketch comedy musical directed by Sterling Johnson.
1981 Through the Magic Pyramid Mutnedjmet Made-for-TV-Movie directed by Ron Howard.[28]
1981–82 The All New Popeye Hour Sgt. Bertha Blast Contract role
1983 The Love Boat Mrs. Honeycutt Episode: "The Dog Show: Going to the Dogs/Putting on the Dog/Women's Best Friend/Whose Dog Is It Anyway" (S 6:Ep 25)
1985 Murder, She Wrote Carla Raymond Episode" "My Johnny Lies over the Ocean" (S 1:Ep 13)
Pound Puppies Nose
The Wuzzles Hopopotamus Contract role
1989 DuckTales Guest
  • Episode: "The Good Muddahs" (S 2:Ep 14)
  • Credited as JoAnne Worley
1990 Match Game Herself Panelist
1992 The Elf Who Saved Christmas Mrs. Buzzard Short film directed by Bob Sykes.[29]
1993 Tom & Jerry Kids Guest
  • Episode:"Penthouse Mouse/Twelve Angry Sheep/The Ant Attack" (S 3:Ep 21)
  • Credited as JoAnne Worley
The Elf and the Magic Key Mrs. Buzzard Made-for-TV-Movie directed by Bob Sykes.[30]
The Pink Panther Mrs. Chubalingo
  • Episode: "Pilgrim Panther/That Old Pink Magic" ( S 1:Ep 10)
  • Credited as Joanne Worley
1995 Family Reunion: A Relative Nightmare Aunt Kate Made-for-TV-Movie directed by Neal Israel.[31]
1996 Mad About You Herself Episode: "Dream Weaver" (S 4:Ep 12)
1998 Caroline in the City Herself Episode: "Caroline and the Sandwich" (S 3:Ep 22)
Sabrina, The Teenage Witch Aunt Beulah Episode: "Good Will Haunting" (S 3:Ep 6)
1999 Boy Meets World Mrs. Stevens Episode: "Pickett Fences" (S 7:Ep 10)
2001 Kim Possible Mrs. Rockwaller Episode: "Downhill" (S 1:Ep 5)
2004 Hollywood Squares Herself Recurring
2005 Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List Herself Episode: "Out & About" (S 1:Ep 1–Pilot)
2009 Wizards of Waverly Place Maggie Episode: "Alex Does Good" (S 2:Ep 17)
2011 Unscripted Herself
  • Episode: "Jo Anne Worley" (S 1:Ep 6)
  • Biography
Bones Diane Michaels Episode "The Truth in the Myth" (S 6:Ep 18)
Curb Your Enthusiasm Rosemary Episode: "The Smiley Face" (S 8:Ep 4)
Jessie Nana Banana
  • Episode: "Zuri's New Old Friend" (S 1:Ep 6)
  • Credited as JoAnne Worley
2012 The Middle Miss Lambert Episode: "The Guidance Counselor" (S 3:Ep 21)

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2005 Kingdom Hearts II Armoire the Wardrobe
2007 Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix+ Armoire the Wardrobe
  • キングダムハーツII (Japanese: Kingudamu Hātsu Tsū), an action role-playing game developed and published by Square Enix in 2005 for the PlayStation 2 video game console.[32]
  • Credited as JoAnne Worley


  1. ^ a b c "Jo Anne Worley". LockerDome. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  2. ^ "Betsy Palmer Orgnal Autograph Program Art". Archived from the original on June 3, 2016. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  3. ^ "Jo Anne Worley". Masterworks Broadway. Sony Music Entertainment. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  4. ^ a b c d e Bianculli 2010, p. 367.
  5. ^ a b c d e Hyatt 2006, p. 450.
  6. ^ a b c d e Erickson, p. 76.
  7. ^ Los Angeles Magazine Staff 1967, p. 112.
  8. ^ Taubman, Howard. "Theatre: Coast Review", The New York Times, June 14, 1961, p. 10
  9. ^ "The Mad Show, 1966, listing" Archived 2009-09-07 at the Wayback Machine, accessed July 21, 2009
  10. ^ Joslyn, Jay (June 1, 1984). "JoAnne Worley Gets Top Rolling". The Milwaukee Sentinel. Gannett Company. Retrieved May 10, 2016.
  11. ^ Braunagel, Don. "Theaters build on big year," The San Diego Union-Tribune, January 10, 1986, p.C-1
  12. ^ "Names in the News", The Associated Press, May 9, 1987
  13. ^ "Jo Anne Worley stars in Nunsense at the La Mirada Theatre," Business Wire, April 24, 1991
  14. ^ Rich, Frank (November 10, 1989). "Review/Theater; The City Is Sweet and Muggers Are Merry". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  15. ^ Van Gelder, Lawrence (May 8, 1999). "Theater Review; Not in Kansas Anymore". The New York Times. The New York Times Company. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  16. ^ Jones, Kenneth; Ehren, Christine (April 13, 1999). "'Laugh In' Worley Replaces Montevecchi April 14 in MSG Wizard of Oz Tour". Playbill. Archived from the original on January 31, 2013. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  17. ^ Gans, Andrew (December 18, 2009). "Worley to Join L.A. Wicked Cast; Levy to Succeed Espinosa". Playbill. Archived from the original on September 7, 2012. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  18. ^ Gans, Andrew (July 20, 2007). "Diva Talk:Chatting with Drowsy Chaperone's Jo Anne Worley Plus the Patti LuPone Gypsy". Playbill. Archived from the original on September 13, 2014. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  19. ^ "Jo Anne Worley Biography". Film Reference. Retrieved July 21, 2009.
  20. ^ "Moon Pilot". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  21. ^ "Head". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  22. ^ "The Shaggy D.A." Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  23. ^ "Nutcracker Fantasy". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  24. ^ "Beauty and the Beast". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  25. ^ "A Goofy Movie". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  26. ^ "The Feminist and the Fuzz". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  27. ^ "What's a Nice Girl Like You...?". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  28. ^ "Through the Magic Pyramid". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  29. ^ "The Elf Who Saved Christmas". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  30. ^ "The Elf and the Magic Key". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  31. ^ "Family Reunion: A Relative Nightmare". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved May 9, 2016.
  32. ^ a b "Feature: Kingdom Hearts II (E3 2004)". GamePro. May 12, 2004. Archived from the original on February 14, 2009. Retrieved May 9, 2016.


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