Irene Ryan wanted to play Granny for as long as she could

''Retire? Honey, I want to die with my boots on,'' she said.

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There was one word that Irene Ryan had no intention of saying: retirement. The actress was best known for her role as Granny on The Beverly Hillbillies, and it was a part she wanted to play forever.

In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald newspaper, she talked about why, to her, there was no such thing as retirement. "Retire? Honey, I want to die with my boots on," she began.

Being on the show brought Ryan the success she always dreamed of. However, people only noticed that she was Granny when she spoke. Other than that, they'd walk right past her.

"My voice always gives me away," she added. "I can walk down the street and not be noticed until I speak. Then everyone turns around."

Ryan was in Sydney for a special appearance at the South Sydney Junior Leagues Club. According to the article in the newspaper, she didn't reveal any portions of her secret act, but a few items of Granny's were stored in her luggage.

Granny on stage? Yes, you read that correctly. Apparently, audiences loved seeing the character live and in action. "People love Granny done on stage. I did her in Las Vegas, and she went down like a bomb," Ryan revealed.

Although the actress became one with the role, there were still noticeable differences between her and the fictional character. Ryan was considered warm and welcoming, and Granny Clampett was all about tough love. Ryan had been in show business for over 50 years, and she did every type of gig except one.

"I won't say how old I am, but I've played in every type of show business [for over] 50 years except burlesque. I was never the type," she said. "I want to go on playing Granny till I drop. I think that when people say retire, they just lay down and die."

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edbreyer 4 months ago
My previous post with a link to a great video about Irene was deleted - likely because it contained a link. So if you want to learn more about her and see clips/pics of her earlier films - go to youtube and search "The Life of Irene Ryan Granny Clampett Daisy May Moses Beverly Hillbillies".
Runeshaper 15 months ago
Irene Ryan was GREAT as Granny!
LoveMETV22 15 months ago
Speaking of Retirement or the furthest thing from it as Irene Ryan may have put it. Thanks to the magic of Archiving here is Irene Ryan in one of her first film roles, a short from 1936 "Just Plain Folks."

IMDb list the release date as 1936.
cperrynaples LoveMETV22 15 months ago
Yep, and she was on My 3 Sons in an episode that will play again soon! Fun Fact: Her husband was played by Ed Begley! Years later, his son Ed Jr. played one of Robbie's buddies!
LoveMETV22 15 months ago
cperrynaples LoveMETV22 15 months ago
Anyone know who tied Granny up? My guess: Drysdale was afraid of losing the Clampett account...LOL!
Sway 15 months ago
So good as granny.
No burlesque for granny.
FrankensteinLover 15 months ago
She was Amazing and Hilarious. She should have Married Ernest T Bass.
cperrynaples 15 months ago
Fun Fact: Ryan was offered the chance to play a Granny-type character in another series, but chose to do Pippin instead because she wanted to be on Broadway! Sad Fact: She collapsed onstage and was diagnosed with the brain tumor that killed her! That shows how dedicated she was!!
Coldnorth cperrynaples 15 months ago
Thanks for the info. I didn’t know how she died. I also didn’t know she had a brain tumor
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