The Tony Award winning actress best known for her role as Esmeralda on the television series Bewitched and as Bernice in Designing Women was born today in 1926. Now WE know em

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Alice Margaret Ghostley was born August 14, 1926 in Eve, Missouri.

Her father worked as a telegraph operator moved his family to Henryetta, Oklahoma when Alice was still quite young.

After High School, Alice attended the University of Oklahoma, but dropped out to pursue a career in acting.

Alice moved to New York and made her Broadway debut in Leonard Sillman’s “New Faces of 1952.”

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Alice in 1952

In 1953, she married Felice Orlandi, an Italian-American actor.

Alice then played the same role in the 1954 film version.

She also appeared in the 1956 musical “Shangri-La”.

Then in 1957, Alice made her first television appearace as Joy, one of the ugly stepsisters in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1957 television musical production of Cinderella which starred Julie Andrews.

She continued acting on Broadway in the 1960 revue “A Thurber Carnival.”

Alice played several different roles in the 1962 play “The Beauty part, for which she received a Tony nomination.

She also appeared in the 1962 film “To Kill a Mockingbird” and the 1963 fim “My Six Lovers.”

In 1964, Alice played Mavis Parodus Bryson in the Broadway production of “The Sign in Sidney Brustein’s Window” for which she was again nominated for a Tony, this time winning the Tony Award.

In 1967, Alice appeared for a brief scene in the film “The Graduate” opposite Marion Lorne, and in the film “The Flim Flam Man,” as well as the 1968 film “Viva Max.”

Bewitched

In 1965, Alice had made a guest appearance as a mortal character Naomi during Bewitched’s second season.

Then in 1969, Alice portrayed Esmeralda, a shy witch who served as a maid and babysitter to the Stephens’ household beginning in season six of Bewitched.

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Her role was created after the death of Marion Lorne in May of 1968 who portrayed Aunt Clara on the show.

Alice appeared in 15 episodes of Bewitched between 1969 and 1972

Mayberry R.F.D.

Then in 1970, Alica joined the cast of Mayberry R.F.D. playing cousin Alice after the character Aunt Bee was written off the series.

Alice Ghostley as Cousin Alice in Mayberry R.F.D.

Alice Ghostley as Cousin Alice in Mayberry R.F.D.

Alice went on to appear as a regular on the James Garner / Margot Kidder television western “Nichols” in 1971 and the critically acclaimed variety series “The Julie Andrews Hour” in 1972. In addition to participating in songs and sketches, Alice was featured with Julie Andrews in a recurring segment as roommates sharing a small apartment.

In 1978, Alice returned to Broadway when she succeeded Dorothy Loudon, who had created the role of Miss Hannigan in the original Broadway run of the musical Annie.

Also in 1978, Alice appeared as shop teacher Mrs. Murdock in the film version of Grease.

Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, Alice appeared in situation comedies such as Hogan’s Heroes (alternating with Kathleen Freeman playing Gertrude Linkmeyer, General Burkhalter’s sister), Get Smart, Love American Style, Touched by an Angel, Diagnosis Murder, Good Times, Maude, One Day at a Time, The Odd Couple and What’s Happening!!.

In 1985, Alice had a supporting role in the Nancy Allen comedy Not for Publication.

She had a recurring role as Ida Mae Brindle in the sitcom Small Wonder, which ran from 1985 to 1989.

Designing Women

Then in 1986, Alice began portraying Bernice Clifton, the slightly off-kilter friend of Julia and Suzanne Sugarbaker’s mother, Perky, on Designing Women.

Designing Women

In 1992, Alice received an Emmy Nomination for Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series for her role as Bernice on Designing Women.

Among many other television guest roles, Alice appeared in a flashback episode as the crazed mother-in-law of Dorothy Zbornak (Bea Arthur) on The Golden Girls.

She even made a one-time appearance as “Great-Grandma” in Sabrina the Teenage Witch.

Alice later played Irna Wallingsford in six episodes of Evening Shade.

In 2000, Alice made a few guest appearances on the daytime drama Passions, playing the ghost of Matilda Matthews.

Alice Ghostley died at her home in Studio City, California on September 21, 2007 after a long battle from colon cancer and a series of strokes.

On Thursday, August 20, 2009, Alice’s ashes were taken to Oak Hill Cemetery in Siloam Springs, Arkansas to be buried with her sister, Gladys, who died on June 21, 2009.   The Ghostley sisters were buried next to their parents.

Now WE know em

 

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