Irene Ryan wanted to play Granny for as long as she could
''Retire? Honey, I want to die with my boots on,'' she said.
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."