People we love: Irene Ryan

Irene Ryan, October 17, 1902 – April 26, 1973

We loved her as Granny Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies from 1962-1971, but she had a successful career in vaudeville, radio, film, television and Broadway.

After The Beverly Hillbillies, Ryan went to Broadway where she created the role of Berthe in the Stephen Schwartz musical Pippin, directed by Bob Fosse. She was nominated for a Tony Award as Best Supporting or Featured Actress, but lost to Patricia Elliott who won for A Little Night Music.

Ryan sufferd a stroke during a performance of Pippin just four days after the tony nomination. She flew home to California to undergo surgery for a previously undiagnosed brain tumor. She died on April 26, 1973. She was 70.

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