ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Alice Ghostley

Updated on June 2, 2016
julieann26 profile image

I'm a fan of classic TV shows and films. My articles focus on the character actors and actress who usually played supporting roles.

Bio Stats

Born: 14 August 1923 (Eve, Missouri, USA)

Died: 21 September 2007 (Studio City, Los Angeles, California, USA)

Cause of Death: Colon cancer and a series of strokes

Film and Television Appearances: 108+

Years Active: 1951 - 2006

Award Nominations: 5 (2 Wins)

Hogan's Heroes (1965-1971)

as Gertrude Linkmeyer in the episode "Watch the Trains Go By" (season 4)
as Gertrude Linkmeyer in the episode "Watch the Trains Go By" (season 4)

Early Life

Alice Margaret Ghostley was born in 1923 to Harry F. and Edna Muriel Rooney Ghostley. After the death of her father in 1933, her family moved to Henryetta, Oklahoma where she attended high school, graduating in 1941. She studied English and drama at the University of Oklahoma before quitting to join her sister Gladys in New York City.

Performing since the age of five, Alice took drama and singing lessons in New York, working in a variety of jobs such as a waitress, an usher, and a typist in order to pay for them. She also teamed up with Gladys and they performed as The Ghostley Sisters.

Eventually, Ghostley became known for her cabaret appearances as a comedian and singer before being selected to appear on Broadway in 1952.

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

— Alice Ghostley


In 1952, Ghostley made her Broadway debut at the Royale Theatre in New York City in the musical revue New Faces of 1952 produced by Leonard Sillman. She gained considerable notice for her performance of "The Boston Beguine" which became her signature song.

Other Broadway productions she appeared in were Sandhog (1954-1955); All in One (1955); Shangri-La (1956); Livin' the Life (1957); Maybe Tuesday (1958); A Thurber Carnival (1960); The Beauty Part (1962-1963); and Annie (1977-1983).

In 1965 she won a Tony Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play for her role in The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window. She had been previously nominated in 1963 for her role in The Beauty Part.


Even though she had been appearing on stage and television shows, Ghostley did not make her film debut until 1962 when she appeared as Stephanie Crawford in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Other films she appeared in were My Six Loves (1963); One Born Every Minute (1967); The Graduate (1967); With Six You Get Eggroll (1968); Viva Max (1969); Ace Eli and Rodger of the Skies (1973); Gator (1976); Blue Sunshine (1977); Record City (1978); Rabbit Test (1978); Grease (1978); Not For Publication (1984); The Odd Couple II (1998); Palmer's Pick-Up (1999); and Mothers and Daughters (2006).

To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)

as Stephanie Crawford
as Stephanie Crawford


Ghostley made her debut on television in 1951 in an episode of the TV series Lights Out. She had a regular role in a number of TV shows...

  • Jackie Gleason: American Scene Magazine (1962-1966) as Agnes (16 episodes)
  • Captain Nice (1967) as Mrs. Nash
  • Bewitched (1964-1972) as Esmeralda (15 episodes)
  • The New Temperatures Rising Show (1972-1974) as Edwina Moffett (7 episodes)
  • Small Wonder (1985-1989) as Ida Mae Brindle (4 episodes)
  • Designing Women (1986-1993) as Bernice Clifton (48 episodes)
  • Evening Shade (1990-1994) as Irna Wallingsford (6 episodes)
  • Passions (1999-2008) as Matilda Matthews (4 episodes)

Some of the Made for Television movies she appeared in were Twelfth Night (1957); Hooray for Love (1960); Two on a Bench (1971); 'Twas the Night Before Christmas (1971); The Hoboken Chicken Emergency (1984); Perry Mason: The Case of the Silenced Singer (1990); Izzy's Quest for Olympic Gold (1995); and Addams Family Reunion (1998).

TV shows she guest starred on included The Best of Broadway; The Tom Ewell Show; Car 54, Where Are You?; The United States Steel Hour; Get Smart; The Ghost & Mrs. Muir; Mayberry R.F.D.; Nichols; Love, American Style; Good Times; One Day at a Time; Highway to Heaven; The Golden Girls; Daddy Dearest; Touched by an Angel; Aaahh!! Real Monsters; and Dharma & Greg.

Diagnosis Murder (1993-2002)

as Mrs. Groviak in the episode "You Can Call Me Johnson" (season 2)
as Mrs. Groviak in the episode "You Can Call Me Johnson" (season 2)

Towards the end of her career, Ghostley became a voice actor for episodes of animated TV shows Rugrats, Channel Umptee-3, Hercules and for the film Whispers: An Elephant's Tale (2000).

For her role in Designing Women, she was nominated three times...

  • 1990: Viewers for Quality Television Awards - Best Supporting Actress in a Quality Comedy Series
  • 1991: Viewers for Quality Television Awards - Specialty Player (Winner)
  • 1992: Primetime Emmy Awards - Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series

On 15 May 1992, her hometown of Henryetta proclaimed it "Alice Ghostley Day" and they re-named the high school auditorium in her honour.

She was married in 1951 to Italian-American actor Felice Orlandi. They remained married until his death in 2003. They never had children.

Alice Ghostley died on 21 September 2007 and was later buried next to her sister at Oak Hill Cemetery in Siloam Springs, Benton County, Arkansas.

Cinderella (1957)

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella (1957 Television Production)
Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella (1957 Television Production)

Alice Ghostley appeared as Stepsister Joy in this TV special.



    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Michele O'Farrell 

      2 years ago

      awesome writeup on these fabulous dramatic artists in theatre and music. well done Julie-ann.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)