Irene Ryan was terrified she'd lose her role as Granny on The Beverly Hillbillies

Her fear of being fired resulted in the actress always being the first person on set.

When many people think of Hollywood, they think of glitz and glam. Lavish lifestyles and celebrities are often associated with the word, but it's important to remember that celebrities are humans with fears, just like everyone else.

Irene Ryan, the phenomenal actress who portrayed Granny on The Beverly Hillbillies, never steered away from sharing her feelings about being in the industry. It was like "show business heaven" for her, but Ryan also dealt with the fear of being fired. In an interview with the Star-Gazette in 1965, the actress briefly touched on the topic.

The interview began with Ryan explaining why she needed a big den in her "charming and chic" home. "I told the contractor that I wanted a big den because I'm only going to buy furniture I can put my feet on," she said. "I've spent my life in hotels putting my feet on the furniture, and I'm not going to stop now."

As Ryan chased after her dream life, living in hotels became the norm, that is, until she became a millionaire with the money she made on The Beverly Hillbillies. Yet, even with financial security, there was something that always worried her.

"I'm the first one on the set for every scene. All my life, I've been on time. I was always scared I would be fired," Ryan added. "And you know something. I'm still scared."

With her talents, she was the perfect fit for Granny, and no one else could've played the role better. Show producer Paul Henning assured her the part wouldn't be the same without her, and he even bought her a "miniature gold rocking chair studded with diamonds" to thank her for her contributions to the show.

Although the producer credits Ryan for the success, she believed that he was the real reason for it, saying, "But Paul is the genius behind the show. After all these years, he's still writing it, and believe me. We read it the way he writes it."

Fans of the show loved Ryan as Granny, and her iconic role will forever make viewers laugh. 

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27 Comments

thegreatgavonne 20 days ago
The more I watch the show the more I realize that Granny was psychotic, in fact, violently psychotic. In real life a person like that would be locked up no matter how much money they had.
musicman37 1 month ago
I don't care one way or another about Gomer Pyle. I wish they'd can Hogans Heroes. With all the perversity Bob Crane was involved in, he doesn't deserve to be remembered like the rest of the MeTV stars do.
JohnGrant musicman37 1 month ago
I try not to remember that when watching Hogans because its such a great show
gymgirl 1 month ago
The early black & white shows were hilarious! Then around '65, '66 it became so unbelievably stupid! I think the writers were all on LSD!
tootsieg 1 month ago
When the Beverly Hillbillies premiered, I thought it was the funniest show on TV. I could not wait week to week for the next episode. Looking forward to the “new” addition in the MeTV nighttime lineup.
JohnGrant tootsieg 1 month ago
Drysdale was priceless
Wapkep1982 1 month ago
No one could be Granny but Irene Ryan! Chloris Leachman tried in 1993, but Irene's shadow was just too long.
Sooner 1 month ago
Promptness is a wonderful attribute to have. Can't find that in the younger generation anymore.
Ready2go 1 month ago
Glad they're back. One of my favorites in the 60s.
harlow1313 1 month ago
I still will sometimes refer to a person as a "hairy goomer."
Pacificsun 1 month ago
I don't understand. Why would MeTV remove Gomer Pyle which fit in nicely between Hogan's Heroes and Green Acres with Beverly Hillbillies? A single trope (plot device) sitcom, when it's already showing on the schedule? Now we're down down a comedy, but one has increased hours all during the week as well.
Bricat2001 Pacificsun 1 month ago
Wait when is that gonna start? i wonder if another channel is gonna get gomer pyle
Pacificsun Bricat2001 1 month ago
January 7, 2023. Who knows why they're still advertising Gomer Pyle. Maybe to test the reaction.
BuckeyeBeth Pacificsun 1 month ago
Have you seen a new week-at-a-glance PDF Schedule yet? Usually they’ll post one that shows all the changes but I can’t find it. I’m only seeing the current one.
I did send MeTv a email but haven’t heard back yet.
Pacificsun BuckeyeBeth 26 days ago
The PDF Schedule 1/7/2023

https://cdnmetv.metv.com/HNQ5j-1672438964-MeTV%20Nat%20Sch%201Q23%20Eff.%201-7-23%20E-P.pdf
Fred_Clampett 1 month ago
My favorite Granny line happens after she sees a naval frog man in the lower half of his diving gear. "He's a frog, from the navel down!"
Andybandit 1 month ago
Granny was a fun character on TBHB.
Sway 1 month ago
"miniature gold rocking chair studded with diamonds", she couldn't put her feet on that.
cperrynaples 1 month ago
Sad story about Irene's death: She fulfilled her dream to be on Broadway only to end her career on stage! There has been an urban legend that she had a fatal heart attack during a performance of Pippin, but she only collapsed! However, doctors discovered a brain tumor that would kill her within months! She flew back to LA never being told of her condition and died only a few weeks later!
ELEANOR cperrynaples 1 month ago
The good news is that her health was good enough for her to fly back to LA, and she had enough time to enjoy life.
It should be noted that she spent her final days in intensive care! Also. just like co-star Bea Benedaret she was a chain smoker most of her life! She did make it past 70!
Pacificsun cperrynaples 1 month ago
Not sure about this. But would a person want to be remembered for how they lived their life following a passion to entertain others, or how they died. Thank heavens there's Wiki to fill in all the details for those so curious.
I heard she chain-smoked. Max Baer mentioned it in an interview
Not surprising. It seemed everyone smoked back then. I know I’ve seen cigarettes in the hands of everyone on Bonanza (not sure about Victor Sen Yung though, it’s hard to find behind-the-scenes photos with him in them) and I think everyone but the two youngest kids on Lost In Space smoked regularly on the set. At this point I’m more surprised to find a Hollywood star from the silent film era through the late 1970s who didn’t smoke.
On Perry MasonPaul Drake smokes in almost every scene he is in except the courtroom. Smoking was everywhere. 🚬
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