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View Full Version : Bewitched (Esmeralda) & Designing Women (Bernice) star Alice Ghostley dies @ age 81


CrossCourt~Rally
Sep 23rd, 2007, 12:51 AM
LOS ANGELES (Sept. 22) - Alice Ghostley, the Tony Award-winning actress best known on television for playing Esmeralda on "Bewitched" and Bernice on "Designing Women," has died. She was 81.

Ghostley died Friday at her home in Studio City after a long battle with colon cancer and a series of strokes, longtime friend Jim Pinkston said.


Ghostley made her Broadway debut in "Leonard Sillman's New Faces of 1952." She received critical acclaim for singing "The Boston Beguine," which became her signature song.

Miles Kreuger, president of the Los Angeles-based Institute of the American Musical, said part of Ghostley's charm was that she was not glamorous.

"She was rather plain and had a splendid singing voice, and the combination of the well-trained, splendid singing voice and this kind of dowdy homemaker character was so incongruous and so charming," Kreuger said.

In the 1960s, Ghostley received a Tony nomination for various characterizations in the Broadway comedy "The Beauty Part" and eventually won for best featured actress in "The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window."

From 1969 to 1972, she played the good witch and ditzy housekeeper Esmeralda on TV's "Bewitched." She played Bernice Clifton on "Designing Women" from 1987 to 1993, for which she earned an Emmy nomination in 1992.

Ghostley's film credits include "To Kill a Mockingbird," "The Graduate," "Gator" and "Grease."

She was born on Aug. 14, 1926, in Eve, Mo., where her father worked as a telegraph operator. She grew up in Henryetta, Okla.

After graduating from high school, Ghostley attended the University of Oklahoma but dropped out and moved to New York with her sister to pursue theater.

"The best job I had then was as a theater usher," she said in a 1990 Boston Globe interview. "I saw the plays for free. What I saw before me was a visualization of what I wanted to do and what I wanted to be."

She was well aware of the types of roles she should pursue.

"I knew I didn't look like an ingenue," she told The Globe. "My nose was too long. I had crooked teeth. I wasn't blond. I knew I looked like a character actress.

"But I also knew I'd find a way," she added.

Ghostley, whose actor husband, Felice Orlandi, died in 2003, is survived by her sister, Gladys.

Infiniti2001
Sep 23rd, 2007, 12:57 AM
AWWW :sad: She was so much fun on Designing women... My fav moment was when Bernice wore the Christmas tree skirt :lol: I also enjoyed when she tomented Anthony by singing black man, black man :haha:

CrossCourt~Rally
Sep 23rd, 2007, 01:02 AM
Wow, what an amazing actress this lady was. I was just briefly browsing her tv and movie credits on IMDB.COM and i was floored at how many roles i recognized her from.
I remember her from Good Times as Mrs Dodds ( i think she played the childrens welfare lady, it was after moma died ) , as Stans mom for one episode of the Golden Girls where she lives in a trailer and gives Stan money because she knows how much of a loser he is :lol: , from all of her guest starring roles on Betwitched, the movie To Kill A Mickingbird and abou a dozen other roles :lol:
But , her most memorable role was of Bernice Clifton from Designing Women :worship: . Black man, Black man...wheeeere did u come from! :lol: Coming from any other actress that line would have sounded racist...coming from her it was pure comedy. My favorite Bernice scene was when she was given a Christmas "Tree" Skirt for X mas and she show shows up to Julias party snockered wearing the Christmas Tree Skirt :haha: I think this was also the episode where Jean Smart gives birth :p

CrossCourt~Rally
Sep 23rd, 2007, 01:04 AM
AWWW :sad: She was so much fun on Designing women... My fav moment was when Bernice wore the Christmas tree skirt :lol: I also enjoyed when she tomented Anthony by singing black man, black man :haha:


Yeah, i just wrote that to :lol: She would also tease and taunt Delta Burke:lol: "Oh Bernice, you fruit cake" . Delta always looked like she had a hard time keeping a straight face during there scenes together :p

Jakeev
Sep 23rd, 2007, 10:30 AM
As funny as Alice was I always thought she was actually at her best went she played it straight like in Grease.

Too bad she didn't do enough drama in her career.

Helen Lawson
Sep 23rd, 2007, 06:15 PM
I guess she took to her grave that Dixie Carter is a man.

CrossCourt~Rally
Sep 24th, 2007, 04:08 AM
:lick: I guess she took to her grave that Dixie Carter is a man.


Dixie is ALL WOMAN baby! Don't ask how i know though :angel: