Irene Ryan was well into her fifties when she became famous as the wiry Granny Clampett on The Beverly Hillbillies
even though she was only six years older than TV son. Born in El Paso, Texas on October 17, 1902, Ryan began her show business career at age 10, later touring with her husband as the Vaudeville act Tim & Irene
. Ryan appeared in B-movies like Bonzo Goes To College
in the 40s, and later made the move to TV in shows such as The Ray Bolger Show
and Make Room For Daddy
. After nearly ten years as Granny Clampett, Irene headed back to Broadway with a Tony-nominated performance in Pippin
. In April, 1973, Ryan suffered a stroke and died soon after at the age of 71. Although she is gone, the Irene Ryan Trust fund lives on, donating scholarships to promising young theater arts students.
Granny, Jed Clampett's highly excitable mother-in-law, is the matriarch of the Clampett family. Granny can cook up the best possum stew and boiled buzzard eggs west of the Ozarks. She's also a doctor of mountain medicine, and is adept at creating potions and curing ailments. One of her most famous recipes is a cure for the common cold that works without fail: take Granny's corn squeezin's, stay in bed, drink lots of fluids, and in about a week you'll be right as rain! Granny spends much of her spare time trying to find a beau for her granddaughter Elly May, who's over 14 and thus in danger of becoming a spinster. Never quite comfortable in her Beverly Hills digs, Granny frequently threatens to return to her ramshackle cabin in Bug Tussle - which makes her a prime candidate for Mr. Drysdale's devious schemes.