Volz at the 39th Emmy Awards, September 1987
June 18, 1908
Montrose, Iowa, U.S.
|Died||January 20, 2003
Mesa, Arizona, U.S.
Nedra Volz (née Gordonier, June 18, 1908 – January 20, 2003) was an American actress.
Early life and career
Born in Montrose, Iowa, she began her career in the family tent show, and appeared in vaudeville as a toddler (called "Baby Nedra"). In the early 1930s, Volz was featured vocalist with Cato's Vagabonds, a Des Moines, Iowa, big band that briefly enjoyed national popularity. Cato never made records, but Nedra managed to appear on exactly one 78 side, with Will Osborne's orchestra in 1933.
Beginning with an episode of Good Times in 1975, she became a well-recognized supporting character actress, primarily on television and also in feature films. Nedra often played grandmothers or feisty little old ladies, in 1970s sitcoms such as Alice, Maude and One Day at a Time, after she appeared in two of Norman Lear's summer television series: as Grandma Belle Durbin in A Year at the Top in 1977 and as Bill Macy's housekeeper Pinky Nolan in Hanging In in 1979. In 1978, Volz appeared in the pilot episode of the TV series WKRP in Cincinnati, where she whacked a turntable with her umbrella in protest of the station's format change. In 1980, she appeared in several Jack in the Box TV spots as they blew up Jack.
By 1980 she appeared on TV almost weekly. In 1981 she landed a recurring role as Emma Tisdale on the TV show The Dukes of Hazzard. In the 1982–83 season, Volz was the matriarch in the Filthy Rich, a series spoofing prime-time soap operas of the day. Volz's character Winona "Mother B" Beck, was the discarded first wife of cryogenically frozen Big Guy Beck (Slim Pickens and, after his death, Forrest Tucker), constantly trying to escape from the nursing home to return to the family mansion, Toad Hall. Volz's final series role was as the bail-bonds woman that hired Lee Majors bounty-hunter character on The Fall Guy from 1985 until the series ended in 1986.
In "Mission of Peace", a 1986 episode of The A-Team, she was one of a group of senior citizens forced into asking the team for help. She portrayed the roles of Mrs. Perwinkle and Angelica on The Super Mario Bros. Super Show in 1989. She remained a guest star for on such series as Night Court, Coach, The Commish and Babes into the early 1990s and she continued to act well into her eighties.
In Moving Violations, director Neil Israel allowed her to do many stunts herself, including being lifted into a window and falling head-first onto the floor. Volz's last acting role was in The Great White Hype in 1996.
Her most notable appearances include:
- Aunt Iola, Edith Bunker's favorite aunt on All in the Family, 1978.
- Housekeeper Adelaide Brubaker on Diff'rent Strokes from January 1980 until February 1984.
- Post Office Employee Miz Emma Tisdale on The Dukes of Hazzard starting in November 1980 until 1984.
- "Big Ed" in the Paul Bartel spoof Lust in the Dust (1985)
- Mother B. (Winona Beck) in Filthy Rich.
- Loretta Houk in the film Moving Violations (1985).
- Lana in the film Earth Girls Are Easy (1988)
- Esther in the TV show Alice in 1978.
- Pearl Sperling in the 1985 season of The Fall Guy.
Nedra's first husband, Lester Rhode, was a songwriter and director of Cato's Vagabonds orchestra; they later divorced. In 1944, at the age of 36, Nedra married Oren Volz. The marriage produced three children, Edward, Linda, and Barbara Lee Volz (1939–1992). Oren Volz died in 1987 after 43 years of marriage. Nedra later lived in Upland, California through the 1980s and 1990s. She was a volunteer Official Celebrity Spokesperson for D.A.R.E. in Ontario, California, before she relocated to Mesa, Arizona.
- Nedra Volz at the Internet Movie Database
- Oliver, Myrna (2003-01-29). "Nedra Volz, 94; TV Actress Played Many 'Old Lady' Roles". articles.latimes.com. Retrieved March 28, 2010.