Saturday, September 22, 2007

Alice Ghostley

Sad news. Alice Ghostley has died.

She was one of THE NEW FACES OF 54, alongside Carol Lawrence, Paul Lynde and Eartha Kitt to name a few.

She was Esmeralda, the combination nanny + witch (Take that Super Nanny!) on BEWITCHED!

She and Kaye Ballard belted out the "Stepsisters' Lament" in Rogers and Hammerstein's CINDERELLA.

And then, there's my favorite Alice Ghostley role. Her many appearances as Bernice Clifton on DESIGNING WOMEN.

She was a stand out in the very first episode they placed her in. No one - - and I mean no one - - could have gotten a bigger laugh from the audience when she blurted the most nonsensical question into the conversation (which had nothing whatsoever to do with this song)...

"What does it mean, someone left the cake out in the rain?"

She had a delivery that was... well, it SHOULD have been all her own, but it was stolen. A lot.

As I recall from one of my favorite biographies - - CENTER SQUARE: THE PAUL LYNDE STORY - - everyone always assumed that Charles Nelson Reilly stole Paul Lynde's hilarious and unique way of delivering a line. Yet, I believe Mr. Reilly said that Paul had stolen that way of landing a laugh line from him, and that he had actually stolen it from Alice Ghostley.

I may have that backwards, but whichever "Game Show Gay" stole that unique delievery, it originated with Alice Ghostley.

Here's a little Alice Ghostley tribute from the 2003 DESIGNING WOMEN reunion. The sound is almost too low to hear, but listen carefully and watch. Her work is comic gold.


Tina said...

Oh man. She was 'THE AUTOSHOP' teacher in the film Grease... she really understood those boys and their cars. :(

Palm Springs Savant said...

She was a wonderful actress, and a delightful person. I met her once a few years in Palm Springs at a SAG benefit. ::sigh::

Stephen Rader said...

Tina - Yep! That was her!!! Wouldn't it have been great if she had been featured very prominently in GREASED LIGHTENING?!?!

Palm Springs Savant - You met her?!??! Wow. That's wonderful! I have to move to Palm Springs, damn it!!!

Lance Noe said...


I love biographies!

could be virtually impossible to find here.

If you run across a dime version - buy it for me!

Stephen Rader said...

Lance - I will definitely pick it up for you. Would you like me to send a copy to you down there in Oz? Or maybe I should just bring it to you in person. :)

Michael said...

That sucks........

Stephen Rader said...

Michael - Yep, but she's up there with Paul and Charles now and making God laugh a lot! She will be missed.