Who Played Granny On The Beverly Hillbillies?

Irene Ryan played the role of Granny, also known as Daisy Moses, on the popular television show “The Beverly Hillbillies”. Born on October 17, 1902, Irene Ryan was 59 years old when the first episode of the show aired on September 26, 1962. The Beverly Hillbillies was a comedy series that ran from 1962 to 1971, and Granny was a beloved character known for her feisty personality and humorous antics.

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Irene Ryan – IMDb She was born on 17th October 1902, the first episode aired on 26th September 1962, so she was 59 years of age.

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Who Played Granny On The Beverly Hillbillies?

The Beverly Hillbillies was one of the most popular American sitcoms of the 1960s. The show revolved around the Clampett family, who became millionaires after striking oil on their land and moved from the Ozarks to Beverly Hills, California. One of the most iconic characters on the show was Granny, the feisty, gun-toting grandmother of Jed Clampett. But who was the actress that brought Granny to life?

How old was Irene Ryan when she started playing Granny?

Irene Ryan was born Irene Noblette on October 17, 1902 in El Paso, Texas. She was 56 years old when The Beverly Hillbillies first aired in 1962. Ryan was cast as Granny when the show's producers were looking for someone to play a prominent older character. With her talent for playing feisty, country women, Ryan was perfect for the role.

At 56, Ryan was younger than most actresses cast as grandmothers at the time. But she completely embodied the grit and humor of Granny Clampett. Ryan maintained her robust health and vigor throughout the show's 9 season run, bringing believable energy and comedy to the character.

What was Irene Ryan's background before playing Granny?

Before being cast as Granny, Irene Ryan had a long career as a singer, dancer, and character actress. She first found success on Vaudeville in the 1920s as part of an act called “Tim Ryan and Irene Noblette.” She went on to appear in several Broadway musicals.

Ryan began acting in films in the 1930s, often portraying wise-cracking, working class women. She appeared in movies like The Women (1939) and Casablanca (1942). Her experience playing comedic supporting roles made her the perfect pick for Granny when The Beverly Hillbillies came along.

How did Irene Ryan get cast as Granny Clampett?

Irene Ryan did not immediately come to mind when producers were casting The Beverly Hillbillies. They originally considered veteran actresses like Margaret Dumont and Bea Benaderet for the part of Granny.

But Irene Ryan's agent convinced producers to meet with her. Her outgoing, vivacious personality that mirrored Granny's won them over. And Ryan's long career as a seasoned entertainer provided the perfect experience to play Granny Clampett.

When offered the role, Irene Ryan happily accepted it. And it became the part that defined the later years of her career.

What were Irene Ryan's most memorable moments as Granny?

As Granny Clampett, Irene Ryan had countless memorable and hilarious moments. Some highlights include:

  • Her feuds with banker Mr. Drysdale, often pulling out her loaded shotgun to threaten him when upset.
  • Dispensing folksy wisdom and witty insults to her family members.
  • Her volatile relationship with fellow senior citizen The Widow Douglas (portrayed by Amanda Blake).
  • Granny's outrageous flirting and romantic escapades with various male guest stars who appeared on the show.
  • Irene Ryan's priceless facial expressions and impeccable comedic timing in her interactions with the Clampett family.
  • Granny's talents for dancing, singing old folk songs, and yodeling that Ryan was able to showcase.

What were some of Granny's catchphrases and personality traits?

Granny had several catchphrases that became associated with Irene Ryan's portrayal of her throughout the run of The Beverly Hillbillies:

  • “Vittles!” Granny's calls for food and meals.
  • “Go soak your head!” One of her frequent insults.
  • “Feels like ants crawlin' all over me!” Whenever Granny felt sick or anxious.
  • “Good day! Good day! Good day!” Granny's outraged reaction when insulted or dismissed.

Some of Granny's defining personality traits included:

  • Her pride and suspicion of outsiders.
  • Her passion for cooking and folk medicine.
  • Her fiery temper and no-nonsense attitude.
  • Her loyalty and devotion to her family.
  • Her funny attempts to adjust to Beverly Hills high society.

Irene Ryan embodied all these qualities in an unforgettable performance as Granny.

How did Irene Ryan's role on The Beverly Hillbillies impact her career?

Playing Granny Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies cemented Irene Ryan's status as a beloved character actress. She perfectly inhabited the role during the show's long successful run from 1962 to 1971.

Being part of such a hugely popular show provided steady work and income for Ryan in her later years. She earned Emmy and Golden Globe nominations for her performance as Granny.

Off-screen, Irene Ryan was able to use her fame from the show to make appearances promoting causes important to her. This included child welfare organizations and charities supporting people in poverty.

Overall, The Beverly Hillbillies expanded Irene Ryan's audience and left her a pop culture icon as Granny Clampett. Generations of re-runs have allowed her talent on the show to live on.

How did Irene Ryan get along with her Beverly Hillbillies costars?

By all accounts, Irene Ryan had great chemistry and relationships with her iconic Beverly Hillbillies costars like Buddy Ebsen, Max Baer Jr., and Donna Douglas.

The cast maintained a fun, friendly atmosphere on set. Ryan especially enjoyed her humorous sparring scenes with Ebsen as Granny and Jed Clampett. She had a motherly affection for Douglas who played her on-screen granddaughter Elly May.

Ryan was a fun presence who livened up the set with her big personality. At the same time, she was a professional who was always prepared and knew her lines. These qualities made her well-liked by the rest of the cast.

The Beverly Hillbillies cast remained close and fond of one another even after the show ended. Irene Ryan maintained lifelong friendships with her fictional Clampett family.

Why did Irene Ryan leave The Beverly Hillbillies in 1970?

Irene Ryan was a beloved staple as Granny on The Beverly Hillbillies for the show's first 8 seasons. But in 1970, during season 9, Ryan left the sitcom suddenly after only appearing in a handful of episodes.

Ryan's departure was due to her husband becoming seriously ill and needing extensive care. She was torn about leaving the show, but knew she had to devote her time to her husband. Producers gave her their full support to exit The Beverly Hillbillies to tend to her family.

Actress June Lockhart was brought in to play Granny's cousin Winifred for the remainder of season 9 after Irene Ryan left the show. But Lockhart was never able to truly replace Ryan's distinctive portrayal of Granny Clampett.

Off-screen, Irene Ryan selflessly focused on caring for her ailing husband until his death in 1973. Sadly, she passed away herself shortly after in 1973 at the age of 70.

How has Irene Ryan's performance as Granny stayed memorable?

Though she only appeared on The Beverly Hillbillies from 1962 to 1970, Irene Ryan's portrayal of Granny made her an unforgettable part of TV history.

Through 9 seasons and over 270 episodes, Ryan embodied everything lovably amusing about Granny. Her comedic skills brought Granny to vivid life.

Irene Ryan made Granny both humorously outlandish yet believably human. Her delivery of Granny's lines was always perfectly timed. Ryan also gave Granny a sense of wisdom and heart underneath her feisty exterior.

Over 50 years since she last played the role, Irene Ryan is still fondly associated with Granny Clampett. Through decades of reruns, her talent on The Beverly Hillbillies continues to entertain and inspire laughter in new generations of viewers.

What were some of Irene Ryan's other most famous roles besides Granny?

While Granny Clampett was Irene Ryan's most famous part, she had a long, accomplished career before The Beverly Hillbillies including:

  • Broadway musicals – Ryan appeared in Broadway shows during the 1930s-1950s like Top Banana, Wonderful Town, and Follies.
  • Films – Some of Ryan's well-known movies included The Woman on Pier 13, God's Little Acre, and Lonelyhearts.
  • Radio – She was a regular performer on comedy radio programs in the 1940s-50s like The Jack Paar Show and The Phil Harris-Alice Faye Show.
  • TV guest stars – Irene Ryan made guest appearances on popular shows like The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show, The Red Skelton Show, and 77 Sunset Strip.

So throughout her over 50 year career, Irene Ryan displayed her acting talents across all mediums. But her role as Granny in The Beverly Hillbillies is the one that she remains best known for even decades later.

What was Irene Ryan's lasting legacy and influence?

Irene Ryan left behind an incredible comedic legacy thanks to her 9 seasons as Granny on The Beverly Hillbillies. She helped create one of TV's most hilarious and beloved sitcom characters.

Ryan paved the way for future generations of character actors on television. Her perfect comic timing and emotional depth became the model for roles like Granny.

Off-screen, Irene Ryan broke ground as one of the few female stunt drivers in 1930s Hollywood. She also was a tireless supporter of charitable causes later in her career.

Ryan helped show that older actresses could play vibrant, robust roles well into their middle ages. Granny was one of the first non-stereotypical elderly woman characters on TV.

Decades after her passing, collections of Irene Ryan's poetry and other writings have been published showing her creative talents extended beyond acting.

With her unforgettable portrayal of Granny Clampett, Irene Ryan demonstrated the power of comedy to touch people's hearts. Her gift for making people laugh continues to delight audiences through Granny to this day.


Irene Ryan's performance as the lovable, fiery Granny Clampett is one of the most iconic in television history. She inhabited the role so fully that she became forever intertwined with Granny in the public imagination.

Ryan's background as a consummate stage and screen entertainer prepared her perfectly to bring Granny to life. Her comedy skills, emotional depth, and boundless energy made Granny an unforgettable character we still love decades later.

Off-screen, Ryan was a beloved colleague and friend to her fellow Beverly Hillbillies actors. As Granny Clampett, she created a legendary performance that continues to entertain new generations lucky enough to discover The Beverly Hillbillies in reruns. Irene Ryan's Granny remains one of TV's funniest grandmothers and greatest characters.

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