Irene Ryan dressed like Granny in real life and didn't care about being called ''worst-dressed''

She didn't wear expensive fur coats and heels; heavy Army boots were her style.

On Now
This hilarious Beverly Hillbillies clip comes from one of the most-watched episodes in TV history!
Up Next:

Imagine seeing Granny Clampett from The Beverly Hillbillies in a mink fur coat, driving around Beverly Hills in a brand new 1964 Shelby Cobra. You can't picture that, right? It would have never happened because being "flashy and expensive" wasn't Granny's style.

It wasn't Irene Ryan's style, either. Ryan was the perfect actress for the role, and she never shied away from telling the world that it was a dream to portray the character.

There were a lot of similarities between the two, and one of the most obvious was that they dressed alike. In 1964, the Roanoke Times and World-News wrote an article titled "Irene Ryan: Easter's Worst Dressed." Yes, you read that correctly.

The actress did an Easter Sunday tour of Marineland of the Pacific, and instead of "looking like a glamorous celebrity," she wore her "everyday ensemble."

"I'm a female sad-sack, and I don't care who knows it," Ryan said, according to the newspaper.

She also headlined the Easter Parade, and critics called her "possibly one of the worst-dressed performers in show business." Ryan had a career full of unglamorous roles in "unfashionable clothes."

Yet, those words didn't affect the actress or her personal style in any way. "It goes without saying that I'm probably the garment industry's worst friend," she said. "I've always played plain Jane parts, little old spinsters and scullery maids."

Ryan was asked why she never switched to mink furs and sweaters on The Beverly Hillbillies or in real life. She replied, "That would be like trying to flag down a super Chief with a burnt-out match."

Heavy Army boots, forgettable dresses and undistinguished suits were her style, and she stayed the same even on Sundays. "My Sunday go-to meetin' get up is original rummage sale, and it's a little nicer." 

Are you sure you want to delete this comment?
Close

15 Comments

edbreyer 2 months ago
Here's an excellent short video about her life - with lots of clips from her old movies and the Beverly Hillbillies. Worth a watch!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3p8ghyo-T4
Track36 11 months ago
OOh can forget Granny ! She will live forever and ever on screen this was back in the day when actors and actresses were real talented !
Moverfan 12 months ago
I flipped through channels one afternoon and landed on Buzzr. Password was just starting and the camera was on this nice lady--pretty dress, her hair sort of flipped up at the ends (like Marlo Thomas wore hers) and I thought she was some "society matron" and I wondered what celebrity she was teamed with. At least I did until Miss Irene opened her mouth...
Pacificsun 12 months ago
Well, Irene Ryan had to dress up for the Emmy's, but you can sure see how camera shy she was, and for the few candid pictures there are. No wonder she melted into being "Granny" her alter ego.


cperrynaples Pacificsun 12 months ago
I recognize Hope Lange and Sebastian Cabot but not the other 2!
Pacificsun cperrynaples 12 months ago
I could look up that year of Emmys. But the point was to show Irene Ryan looking very nice. I think that's Don Adams too.


"Adams also produced and directed 13 episodes of the show. He was nominated for Emmys four seasons in a row, from 1966 to 1969, for Outstanding Continued Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Comedy Series. He won the award three times. The show moved to CBS for its final season, with ratings declining, as spy series went out of fashion. Get Smart was canceled in 1970 after 138 episodes."
cperrynaples Pacificsun 12 months ago
Yes, it was agent 86! That picture's too {BLEEP]ing small! Yes, he acknowledged the CBS switch when he won! I only knew that from a TV Land tribute!
Pacificsun cperrynaples 12 months ago
😉 No worries, I had to look it up to be sure. Don Adams was a very non-descript person (visually). It always amazed me that he had so much pent-up talent in bringing Agent 86 to life! He did it (IMO) without upstaging anyone, with respect to Barbara Feldon, Ed Platt and the stellar Cast they used continuously. He knew how to be funny, as is. We loved the Show as kids, and laughed at everything. It was such an "in" show with funny site gags.
Runeshaper 12 months ago
She was real and that is AWESOME!
Mike 12 months ago
I'm old enough to remember when Irene Ryan would appear on game shows like Password, dressed up to the nines, beautifully coiffed (redhead), and very well spoken indeed.
And every so often she'd get gussied up and go on Johnny Carson's Tonight Show, where she might sing an old show tune, to the crowd's delight.
And there was the time when Ralph Edwards surprised her on This Is Your Life, with old friends coming out to recall The Good Old Days.
And, of course, Irene Ryan finished out her career starring on Broadway in Pippin - but that's another story.
Pacificsun Mike 12 months ago
I don't remember those appearances, but all respect goes to her being a gracious, talented and beautiful lady! Thank you for sharing!
cperrynaples Pacificsun 12 months ago
Well, on YouTube, there's a clip where she's dressed up as Granny on The Hollywood Palace!
Pacificsun cperrynaples 12 months ago
She did also for an appearance a MarineLand (Los Angeles).
Sway 12 months ago
I'd like to see photos of Irene dressed granny style and in army boots other than her Granny roll or any character parts. Hmmm, thinking this is a stretch.
LoveMETV22 12 months ago
Perhaps Irene Ryan dressed in Granny Style during or after the time " The Beverly Hillbillies was being produced. However she was a very elegant individual as well.
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?