Alice Ghostley (born August 14, 1926 in Vernon County, Missouri – died September 21, 2007 in Studio City, California) was a veteran character actress who is best known for playing the character Bernice Clifton on the CBS-TV series Designing Woman receiving an Emmy Award nomination for best supporting actress in 1992.
Alice is also known for playing Esmerelda on the popular ABC-TV sitcom series Bewitched and Cousin Alice on Mayberry R.F.D. after Francis Bavier had left the show and her Aunt Bee character was written out of the series. She also appeared in two episodes, one of which she played Gertrude Linkmayer in place of Kathleen Freeman, of the 1960s CBS sitcom, Hogan's Heroes. Alice made a guest appearance on The Golden Girls as Mother Zbornak, Stanley Zbornak's mother, in the episode Mother's Day in Season 3.
Ghostley was an early veteran of television, first appearing as a regular on the TV series, Freedom Rings. One of her first major performances was as one of the ugly step-sisters in the landmark 1957 television production of Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein's Cinderella, which starred a young Julie Andrews.
Her next major appearance would be in one of the few films that she would appear in, playing Dill's Aunt Stephanie Crawford in the film classic, To King a Mockingbird. In 1967, she would appear in the sitcom, Captain Nice playing the title character's mother and in the film classice, The Graduate in a small role opposite Marion Lorne, whom, in 1969, she would replace on Bewitched after the former's death.
Ghostley also worked on Broadway, appearing in several plays, including New Faces of 1952, The Beauty Part, The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window for which she received a Tony for Best Featured Actress in a Play in 1965. She would later appear in the original run of the musical Annie, after replacing Dorothy Loudon as the evil Miss Hannigan.
After Mayberry R.F.D., she would spend the next few years appearing as a guest star in several television series, as well as appearing in several feature films, before appearing in the movie version of Grease as the shop teacher, Mrs. Murdock. After Designing Women, Ghostley was once again appearing mainly as a guest star, as well as doing some voice acting. Including the above-mentioned shows, she has appeared in The United States Steel Hour, Hallmark Hall of Fame, Car 54, Where Are You?, Get Smart, The Mothers-in-Law, The Odd Couple, Love, American Style, Kolchak: The Night Stalker, Maude, One Day at a Time, Gimme a Break!, Trapper John, M.D., Simon & Simon, Punky Brewster, The Golden Girls, Evening Shade, Diagnosis: Murder, Sabrina, the Teenage Witch, Rugrats, and Passions.
Personal and Family life/Death
Her husband, Felice Orlandi, who made guest appearances on Hogan's Heroes as Lt. Boucher and Lt. Maurice DuBois, died in 2003. Alice died in her home in Studio City, California, on September 21, 2007, after a long battle with colon cancer and a series of strokes.
- Arnold, Gary (18 October 2007). "Familiar New Faces: Spoofs Endure For Cast, Films". The Washington Times. http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-169979499.html. Retrieved 27 November 2012.